Forensic Psychology and the Victims of Crime

Forensic Psychology and the Victims of Crime - Week 7:...

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Week 7: Forensic Psychology and the Victims of Crime Lecture Notes and Questions to Consider for Discussion Part I: Introduction People can be victimized by many different types of crimes and many different criminals. In addition, different people are differentially vulnerable to becoming victims of crime. Victims also show a wide range of reactions to crime victimization. Therefore, the field of psychology can provide valuable information in the study of crime victimization – psychology can show us what typical reactions are, what makes certain people more vulnerable to crime victimization, what makes certain people more vulnerable to more severe reactions, and what some of the reasons are for why some people react so differently. The study of victimization, otherwise known as victimology , is very new, and therefore, there is a relative paucity of research in this area, especially when compared to criminal psychology. Victimology has been defined as the "scientific study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system – that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials – and the connections between victims and other societal groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements" (Karmen, 1992). Criminologists, sociologists, and psychologists have all contributed to this field of study. Criminologists look mainly at the relationship between victims and offenders. Sociologists tend to study the associations between victims and various social movements. Psychologists (the focus of this class) has contributed to victimology in a variety of ways, including as: consultants, evaluators, and expert witnesses for ways in which the criminal justice system may impact victims – for example, in cases pertaining to "secondary trauma" of the criminal justice system or the media (i.e., the criminal justice system or media coverage of a crime further traumatized a crime victim) service providers to victims of all types of crimes, including the more sensationalized (i.e., featured in the media – e.g., hate/bias crimes, school shootings, hostage situations) and the more common (e.g., family violence – discussed in the next lecture) expert witnesses in various lawsuits, such as discrimination lawsuits or workplace accommodation efforts for persons with physical or mental disabilities. researchers and providers of "empirically supported treatments" (EST) which are actually quite controversial because there is limited evidence that they work in all cultural groups in this country. ESTs are essentially treatment programs – in this case for the psychological effects of victimization issues – that have scientific support from rigorous research that they actually work. Because the field of victimology is so new, there is a lot of research to be done. Currently, there
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Forensic Psychology and the Victims of Crime - Week 7:...

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