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Victim Precipitation - Essay Example

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Victim Precipitation

In his writings, Von Hentig pointed out that victim is also an influencing factor in a crime and the study of the victim's participation on the crime would beneficial as it will result in future crime prevention (van Dijk, 1997). Just like Von Hentig, Mendelsohn also pointed out the role played by the victims in crimes. One example of this is by aggravation. "For Mendelsohn, a defense counsel, victim precipitation was a mitigating circumstance in meting out punishment for the offender" (van Dijk, 1997).
In modern times however, the term "victim" has many connotations. "It is not unusual to hear the word "victim" paired with a wide range of human experiences: cancer victims, holocaust victims, accident victims, victims of injustice, hurricane victims, crime victims, and others." These connotations sometimes brought up the "visual images of suffering, devastation and often individual heroism or endurance in the face of powerful destructive forces" (Karmen, 1990; Theoretical Perspectives of Victimology and Critical Research, 2004). "One commonality has come to apply to virtually all usages of the term victim: That an individual has suffered injury and harm by forces beyond his or her control, and not of his or her personal responsibility" (Theoretical Perspectives of Victimology and Critical Research, 2004).
The concept of victim precipitation has become so controversial because it lessens the responsibility of the offender of a crime. Many victims don't like the idea that they are partly to be blame for the crime that somebody did to them. One essential criticism of victim precipitation concept in victimology is that blaming the victims as well as the offenders for the crime that occurred. Historically, Mendelsohn also believe in victim's participation in a crime in his early writings.
With regards to women victims, this issue is particularly controversial. "This criticism against victimology was voiced most clearly by feminist researchers, for example in reviews of Amir's study of victim precipitation in rapes". "The notion that victims by their provoking behavior triggered their victimization by male victimizers - and in fact deserved to be victimized- is part of the patriarchal mindset which is at the root of many of such crimes. By focusing on the victim's involvement attention is diverted from the structural causes of violence against women" (van Dijk, 1997).
Furthermore, the concept of victim precipitation also "emerged in cases of parricide and homicide of batterers by abused spouses" which further blur the clear distinction between the term "victims" and "offenders". Defenders of battered women realize the issue firsthand and help propagate the "battered woman syndrome defense to defend women who killed or seriously injured a spouse or partner after enduring years of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse" (Theoretical Perspectives of Victimology and Critical Research, 2004).
Furthermore, several lawyers, in defending adolescent offenders who murdered their parent, have also use the theories of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder to give a clear evidence of the underlying reasons for the crime. Criminal cases like these are ...Show more

Summary

Victim precipitation is a concept in Victimology wherein the victim is considered to be one of the influencing factors why the crime is committed. "Victimology is the study of why certain people are victims of crime and how lifestyles affect the chances that a certain person will fall victim to a crime" (Victimology, 2006)…
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