Victimology is concerned with three categories of victim: primary victims, secondary victims and related victims. This is because crime creates a ripple effect, depending on the severity of the offense. The following are the three main types opens in new windowof victims discussed in the study of victimology:
- Primary victims are individuals who are injured or otherwise directly affected by a crime committed against them. For example, the primary victim of an armed robbery loses his or her possessions and may require therapy to cope after experiencing violence.
- Secondary victims are present at the scene of a crime and may be injured as a result of witnessing it. They might also be the parent or guardian of the primary victim. The family and friends of the robbery victim above would be considered secondary victims because the crime has indirectly affected them.
- Related victims are people who are dependent on the primary victim, have a close relationship with the primary victim or are connected to the victim in some other way. For example, the neighbors of the robbery victim would be considered related victims if the crime occurred on their street.
VICTIMOLOGY VS. CRIMINOLOGY
Though both victimology and criminology are vital in the criminal justice field, they are different from one another both in aim and scope. Victimology focuses on helping victims heal after a crime, while criminology aims to understand the criminal’s motives and the underlying causes of crime. Victimologists are concerned with fostering recovery, while criminologists seek prevention.
Criminologists seek to understand the social impact of crime opens in new window. They “look at every conceivable aspect of deviant behavior. This includes the impacts of crime on individual victims and their families, society at large, and even criminals themselves,” according to The Balance. Criminologists study elements like the frequency, location, causes and types of crime, then work to develop “effective and humane means of preventing it,” The Balance continues.