What Is Victimology? 

What Is Victimology?

What Is Victimology? 
What Is Victimology?

has been sharpened to make sure that students find the upcoming course and its reading assignments to be engaging, relevant to their career plans, and meaningful to their personal concerns. This lead-off chapter contains new real-life cases that dramatize the suffering of college students as the targets of ruthless offenders. That is followed by a streamlined discussion stressing the need for objectivity, and then a new section on the necessity of engaging in research. Bystander intervention, which is an insufficiently studied aspect of society’s reaction to victimization, is now covered in greater depth in a box that provides a typology, an example, and an up-to-date review of research findings. Another set of actual cases illustrates how the reactions of victims under attack and their resiliency in its aftermath often can be inspirational and uplifting. That leads to the observation that victimology’ s unavoidable preoccupation with suffering can and should be balanced out by another more positive and upbeat line of inquiry, termed “survivorology.” A sec- tion asking “Why Study Victimology?” was expanded to further motivate students to consider the practical value of the course and the importance of the entire enterprise.

Chapter 2, “The Rediscovery of Crime Victims,” provides a great many new references that will prove useful to students who want to investigate the plights of particular groups that have not yet received sufficient atten- tion and assistance. The coverage of victims of human trafficking, a prob- lem of great concern and outrage to many students, now more clearly illustrates how the rediscovery process goes through four distinct stages.

Chapter 3, “Victimization in the United States: An Overview,” has been reorganized to better explain and illustrate how official statistics can provide preliminary answers to important questions. The graph showing historical


Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. WCN 02-200-203

trends in homicides has been moved to the end of this chapter to round out the idea of the big picture. The extensive FBI Uniform Crime Report data as well as the findings from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey in the tables and graphs have been updated and simplified. The discussion of comparative risks (mortality due to ill- nesses and accidents) has been expanded and updated.

Chapter 4, “A Closer Look at the Victims of Interpersonal Violence and Theft,” replaces the more narrowly focused chapter formerly entitled “Violent Crimes: Murders and Robberies.” It starts out with an examina- tion of the latest United Nations statistics comparing murder rates for a great many countries and their leading cities in order to demonstrate the importance of location as a major determinant of risk levels. The chapter now also includes discussions about people who suffered near death experiences and other aggravated assaults, robberies, burglaries, vehicle thefts, and even identity theft. Engaging questions are posed, such as which individuals face the gravest chances of being murdered and which motorists should be most concerned when parking their cars. Throughout the chap- ter, differential risks are the focus of attention: how various demographic groupings experience much higher or much lower rates of victimization.

Chapter 5, “The Ongoing Controversy over Shared Responsibility,” is a sharpened reformulation of the previous edition’s “Victims’ Contribution to the Crime Problem.” But as always, it presents all sides of this contro- versial topic. The debate over individual responsibility (in the form of facilitation, precipitation, and provocation) is characterized as victim blam- ing versus victim defending. The chapter now features enhanced coverage of the theories that account for the differential risks experienced by entire demographic groups. New material highlighted in boxes provides prag- matic advice from experts about how to avoid being burglarized, getting robbed, and being impersonated by an identity thief, and what to do if these unwanted events happen.

Chapter 6, “Victims and the Police,” replaces “Victims and the Criminal Justice System: Cooperation and Conflict; Part 1: The Police.” This streamlined chapter contains updated tables, including the clearance rates for index crimes for the entire nation, and the homicide clearance rates for many big-city police forces (data that still does not appear in other victim- ology, criminology, or criminal justice textbooks, to my knowledge).The controversy surrounding charges that some police departments try to manipulate crime statistics downward by discouraging victims from report- ing incidents is explored in greater depth. Other issues examined in more detail include efforts by victims to recover their stolen property and the filing of dishonest and false complaints.

Chapter 7, retitled as “Victims’ Rights and the Criminal Justice System,” now provides a systematic review of the many recently enacted procedural rights (material that formerly appeared in the final chapter of the book). The enumeration and assessment of these rights is integrated into the


Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. WCN 02-200-203

discussions about interactions with prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, juries, and corrections officials This expanded chapter includes some new Supreme Court decisions impacting victims and a strengthened examina- tion of the need for protection against intimidation and reprisals.

Chapter 8, “Victimized Children,” contains expanded discussions and updated statistics in tables and graphs that reveal the latest trends in child maltreatment cases and fatalities. Differential risks of being abused are explored in greater detail. The latest revelations about sexual abuse as well as cover-ups of systematic molestations are summarized. A summary of a study about the sudden rise and rapid fall of prosecutions and lawsuits based on repressed memories of childhood abuse helps to understand what hap- pened to this formerly burning issue.

Chapter 9, “Victims of Violence by Lovers and Family Members,” benefits from new real-life cases and updated research findings. The many ways that victims suffer now is explored in greater detail. The clash between maxi- malist and minimalist perspectives has been updated and sharpened. Theo- ries that address “why does she stay with an abusive partner?” are presented more effectively. Orders of protection and gun surrender laws are described more clearly.

Chapter 10, “Victims of Rapes and Other Sexual Assaults,” contains new real-life cases and updated statistics in the graph and the table. The discus- sion about sexual assaults on campus now appears here, rather than in Chapter 11, and a great deal of material has been added, including best practices for handling these cases. Coverage about sexual assaults in the military was added. Updated estimates about differential risks and unana- lyzed rape kits enhance the analysis of these issues.

Chapter 11, “Additional Groups of Victims with Special Problems,” has been reorganized and streamlined and benefits from many fresh real-life examples. New material has been added about cyberstalking, line-of-duty deaths of police officers, and murders and woundings attributed to terror- ism. The analysis of offenses against high school and college students, of inmate vs. inmate violence, and of hate crimes has been updated and strengthened.

Chapter 12, “Repaying Victims,” contains some new material about civil lawsuits and state compensation funds, as well as practical advice addressing the challenges of collecting insurance reimbursements in the wake of burglaries.

Chapter 13, “Victims in the Twenty-First Century: Alternative Directions,” now features a greatly expanded and yet carefully balanced presentation of the controversy surrounding arming for self-protection, with a wealth of new material about victims using guns to defend themselves. Approaches to conflict resolution that seek to achieve restorative justice now stand out in sharp contrast to arming for self-protection because the discussion about legal rights and remedies has been moved to Chapter 7.


Copyright 2016 Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved. May not be copied, scanned, or duplicated, in whole or in part. WCN 02-200-203

Once again, this edition accentuates the positive by repeatedly focusing on the unanticipated but much-welcomed trend that became evident by the late 1990s: an impressive nationwide drop in victimization rates. Across the country, fewer people are being murdered, robbed, raped, assaulted, or suffering losses from burglaries and car thefts than at any time in the past several decades. This improvement in public safety is well documented in the many tables and graphs throughout the text. Of course, no one knows how much longer the ebbing of the crime wave that began in the 1960s and peaked in the early 1990s will last because no consensus exists among criminologists and victimologists about why crime rates rise and fall.

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