Most discussions of crime, whether research-based or colloquial in nature, concern the events, the criminals themselves or the criminal justice system’s response. Discussion of crime victims or the effects of victimization has been marginalized to specialized sectors: service providers, researchers, and, lamentably, Lifetime channel movies.

What is less broadly known is that the topic of crime victims and victimization has grown tremendously over the past 30 years. There is even a discipline dedicated to this area of knowledge known as victimology. And, there are victim service providers who are dedicated to assisting crime victims in their recovery.

Luma Jasim cover

TBR 7 cover by Luma Jasim

Over time, we have discovered that victimization is not isolated to the crime event; there are short and long term effects on victims of crime that cross physical, psychological, financial and lifestyle boundaries. TBR7: Victimization
Monday: Bostaph’s intro
Monday: King & Bostaph, et al. on Idaho victim services
Tuesday: Fisher on sexual violence on campus
Wednesday: Miller on theory of change
Thursday: Cares crime victims’ classroom needs
Friday: Franklin on the victim-offender connection
Friday: Campbell on police and victims of sexual violence
Research has also demonstrated a victimization-offending overlap: those who are victimized, especially in childhood, may later engage in offending (as well as be re-victimized) and those who are offenders are at an increased likelihood of being victimized.

While victims of crime now have rights afforded to them in the criminal justice system — through statutes or amendments to state constitutions — the criminal justice system remains a difficult landscape to navigate for people who may still be dealing with the aftermath of trauma. Negative experiences of victims within the criminal justice system often manifest as secondary victimization. Much progress has been made in understanding, assisting and tailoring services to the needs of people victimized by crime, yet much remains unknown about each of those areas.

This special issue of The Blue Review is dedicated to the study and practice of victimology. We have tried to provide a wide-ranging snapshot of the discipline throughout the coming week.

  • Monday: Laura King and I, working with our Boise State colleagues Lane Kirkland Gillespie, Amanda Goodson & Juan Lopez, uncover the service needs of crime victims and the barriers to receiving those services across the state of Idaho.
  • Tuesday: Bonnie Fisher of the University of Cincinnati provides a very timely overview of how colleges and universities can begin to adequately address incidents of sexual violence on their campuses.
  • Wednesday: Kelly Miller, Director of the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence, takes a broader view of victimology and unveils a new approach for agencies and communities to begin addressing root causes of social injustices that lead to victimization.
  • Thursday: Alison C. Cares of Assumption College discusses trends in educating college students across multiple disciplines about crime victims’ needs, including the roles and responsibilities of professors in these efforts.
  • Friday: Cortney Franklin of Sam Houston State University highlights the victim-offender connection, discussing the effects of childhood exposure to family violence on later use of violence in intimate partner relationships.
  • Friday: Bradley Campbell of the University of Louisville focuses on how one key component  of the criminal justice system — law enforcement — responds to victims of sexual violence.

We hope you find these articles as intriguing and eye-opening as we do and that your expanded interest translates into more involvement in your communities to reduce the incidence and effects of victimization on individuals and society.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Boise State University, the Center for Idaho History and Politics, or the School of Public Service.