Society and the Criminal Justice System

How victims are treated by both society and the criminal justice system • How victims seek help and recover from their victimization • How victims seek compensation

In addition, within the field are conversations about whether victimology should be a movement around victims and victims’ rights in addition to the scientific study of victims.

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Studying victims can evoke strong emotional reactions that can affect how we deal with victims and crime, so the end goal for the field is to study victimization from a scientific approach to ensure objectivity and an unbiased understanding of victimization. In addition, crime is often messy and complex, complicating the study of victimization. Figuring out who the victim and offender is can be difficult, depending on the crime.

The term “victim” comes from the Latin word victime, which were humans and animals that were to be sacrificed to please the gods. For most of the history of Western society, the burden of proving victimization and seeking justice rested on the victim alone. Justice often took the form of retaliation or retribution against the offender. Most societies have felt that the punishment should fit the crime. One example of this is the lex talionis: an eye for an eye.


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