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New Text Offers Insights into Victimology

Posted On December 21, 2015 by Mary Chase Mize, M.S. student, College of Education and Human Development

Criminals and the impact of crime have long been studied by academics and policymakers, but the victims have not been studied in a similar manner until recently.

In their new textbook, Victimology (Sage 2015), Andrew Young School criminologist and associate professor Leah Daigle and co-author Lisa Muftić of Sam Houston State University provide a comprehensive look at this rapidly growing academic field.

Victimology is the scientific study of victimization, its consequences, and how the criminal justice system and the media deal with victims of crime. As such, it provides answers backed by research to questions and assumptions about victimization.

“The scientific method allows us to truly understand who is more likely to be victimized, the responses that are effective to reduce victimization and the consequences of trauma in victimization,” says Daigle. “It also teaches us how we can alleviate the consequences of trauma in victims.”

Daigle says this field sometimes suffers from people using an ideological approach, rather than scientific, to understanding victims.

“It’s especially important that people approach victimology through what has been scientifically proven rather than what people want to believe to be true,” Daigle says.  “Anecdotally, one might hear that victimization is related to poor health. When we use the scientific method to study victimization, we are actually able to confirm that relationship exists.”

Exploring victimization with a scientific approach also provides a more critical look at how the media treats victimization. Although the media picks up on extremes, she says the extremes are not the reality.

Most victimizations that occur in the United States are low-level, such as car theft.

“The media tends to sensationalize victimization. Many people are victimized every year and fortunately, most of these acts are not very serious. But when you watch the news, frightening and serious crimes are reported, such as homicide and rape. That’s not the reality of crime victimization for the average person,” Daigle says.

Victimology covers emerging issues in the field, such as same-sex intimate partner violence, cyberbullying, identity theft and human trafficking. Each chapter provides examples of real news stories to connect issues and concepts in victimology to current events. Daigle and Muftić also include a chapter devoted to examining victimology from a global perspective.

Daigle is the co-author of several books, including Unsafe in the Ivory Tower: The Sexual Victimization of College Women, which was awarded the 2011 Outstanding Book Award by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

To order a copy of Victimology and review its companion website, go to https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/victimology/book243808.