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the study of the victims of crime. This area has traditionally been marginal to the concerns of the vast majority of criminologists. The topic had been raised occasionally in arguments about the reliability of CRIMINAL STATISTICS, but was not treated systematically until the 1960s. The US President's Commission on Law Enforcement in 1965 sponsored the first major survey of crime victims, and found that the figure for unreported crime – the ‘dark figure’ – was much larger than had been assumed. It was also found that victimization and fear of crime were unequally distributed between different classes, different ethnic groups and between men and women. In addition, inner-city residents reported very high incidence of crime and great fear of crime which heavy police presence was not mitigating. The first official British victim survey (M. Hough and P. Mayhew, The British Crime Survey, 1983) replicated the US findings on the ‘dark figure’ of crime and the distribution of crime.

Theoretical approaches to victimology include a focus on the nature of the relation between victim and offender, e.g. the concept of‘victim precipitation’. At one extreme, e.g. the crime of rape, this psychologistic approach effectively ‘blames’ the victim for inviting the crime. Other accounts, working from statistics, have focused on geographical, demographic or ‘lifestyle’ explanations.

In the UK, the major recent work in this field has taken a more sociological and structural line. It represents both a move away from the previous critical CRIMINOLOGY and an attempt to contribute to an understanding of the victim, especially in working-class areas, and to contribute to policy formation, particularly in relation to policing policy and victim support (e.g. Lea and Young, 1983; Jones, Maclean and Young, 1986).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Criminology, victimology, and other scholars from Europe and Australia present 16 essays that interpret and develop the "ideal victim" idea of the late Norwegian criminologist Nils Christie, in which he addressed the socially constructed concept of an idealized form of victim status or identity, illustrating the importance of a victim-centered approach.
One of the virtues of the book is that it does not overly subscribe to what we might call "the romance of resistance"--a kind of inverse corollary to victimology in which the oppressed always manage to make a stand against their oppressors.
Within the study of victimology, the routine activity theory has been applied quite often.
The author's clinical experience and studies with a concentration in victimology place her squarely on the side of these victims of aggression.
She is a member of the Home Office Victim's Steering Committee, secretary of the European Forum for Victim Services and vice-president of the World Society of Victimology.
Although it has not always been so, social work has become mired in the narrow and, in my opinion, destructive philosophy of victimology. Instead of examining interactions (between people and between groups of people) in all their complicated forms, social workers too often simply classify some people as victims and the rest as perpetrators.
In a culture such as ours, obsessed with victimology but lacking the political understanding to put these stones into proper perspective, this was TV drama at the expense of good history--and good sense.
Though Busch says he has no use for "victimology," he nevertheless has a soft spot for the defenseless--vulnerable children, puppies, and so forth.
collection--the result of an annual Criminal justice Conference held at Northumbria University--contains chapters on feminist victimology (Sandra Walklate), researching crime (Pat Mayhew), coping with crime (Rob Mawby and Gerd Kirchhoff, criminal justice policy (Pamela Davies) and crime prevention (Jon Bright).
My reference to these authors and their works is meant to convey not only their visibility but also the pioneer quality of their contributions to victimology.
SOMMERS ANALYZES THE PHILOSOPHICAL underpinnings of the victimology feminist movement, first visiting the universities, where lockstep conformity is enforced in the name of "diversity" and "inclusiveness." She discusses the ideological litmus tests that determine career advancement, chronicles the "redefinition of knowledge" that aims to eliminate such male biases as the illusion of excellence, and describes the way in which education has been placed in the service of politics and politically biased group therapy.
Recently, I was sent a clipping from the Irish Times in which the Irish poet, Derek Mayhon, refers to me as "cold, dishonest, and wicked." He deplores the "victimology" of my ideas, which he says have seduced younger women poets.