psych and law Chapter 13

psych and law Chapter 13 - Chapter 13 I II III Perception...

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Chapter 13 I. Perception of Victims a. Society has conflicting feelings toward victims i. Most feel sympathy but question why they became victims ii. One reason is need to believe in a “just world” iii. Thought of us ourselves becoming victims is so threatening that we must find an explanation of why that person was a victim iv. Attribution theory (Fritz Heider)-people operate as “naïve psychologists”-reach conclusions about what caused a behavior by considering personal and environmental factors v. Dispositional attributions-when we consider someone else’s actions, we rely on the person’s ability level, personality, or even temporary states (fatigue, luck) as explanations for conduct vi. “Blaming the victim” 1. Popular example: OJ Simpson’s defense attorney told the jury she was basically a slut and the jury felt less sympathetic and believed one of her “shady” friends had killed her II. Types of Victims a. Primary source of info on crime victims is Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey i. Many acts of racial or religious discriminations 1. Gay students and gay adults report more instances of verbal and physical abuse. Also experience more suicidal thoughts and substance abuse 2. AIDS sufferers are victimized a. By everyday people and even medical professionals b. Often believe that disease not only reflects personal choices but also the illness reflects the afflicted person’s intrinsic value ii. Cyber stalking 1. Sexual predators use it 2. Identity theft III. Victims of Violent Crime a. Courts began to acknowledge the need to better recognize and serve crime victims i. Emergence of victimology-concentrates on studying the process and consequences of victimization experiences and how they recover ii. Increasing availability of services to victims-compensation, victim assistance programs in courts, self-help programs iii. Expanded opportunity for victims to participate in the trials of their victimizers iv. Heightened focus on victims brought about by new journals
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b. Is violence inherited? i. Cathy Spatz Widom-used court records to identify a group of 908 children in the Midwest who suffered abuse or severe neglect ii. Matched to a group of 667 children who had not been exposed to abuse or neglect but similar in race, gender, age etc. iii. Abused group was significantly more likely than the other group to be arrested for violent crimes iv. Relationship between abuse and violence was particularly strong among African Americans v. May underestimate the risks created by childhood abuse vi. Only offenses that result in arrest or trial were included vii. Did not assess group differences in mental disorders, substance abuse, educational and occupational difficulties, etc.
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