The need for such profile of the victim arose and its utility was realized when the investigation teams had to solve the cases of serial criminals. The development of the profile of the potential victims on the basis of the existing victim's information helped to trace the serial criminals. However, this strategy is now not restricted to the serial crimes only, rather a separate field of studies has been developed to work on the matter; this field is termed as 'victimology'.
"The scientific study of victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system -- that is, the police and courts, and corrections officials -- and the connections between victims and other societal groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements." (Karmen)
The concept of victim dates back to ancient cultures and civilizations. Its original meaning was rooted in the exercise of sacrifice -- the taking of the life of a person or animal to satisfy a deity. (Karmen)
Before 1940's, as mentioned earlier, the criminology and the crime investigation had total focus of research and academic analysis on the criminals, victims had no significant place in the investigation. However, the field of criminology gave birth to victimology when Mendelson and Von Hentig started studying the victims of the crime as well, since were of the view that like criminals, the victims should also be the integral part of such analysis. These two are know as the father of the study of Victimology. (Roberson)
Mendelson asserted that victims had an "unconscious aptitude for being victimized." (Roberson, 1994) Von Hentig published an article in 1941 with the title "Remarks on the Interaction between Perpetrator and Victim" (Hentig). Later on, he published "The Criminal and his Victim", a textbook on criminology in which he wrote a chapter about the victim (Hentig). He treated the victim as one of the participants in a crime. The term victimology was evolved by Mendelsohn in 1947 in a paper presented in French at a congress in Bucharest. Another significant contribution in the development of the field of Victimology as a separate discipline of studies is by S. Schafer who published in 1968 a remarkable book on the subject entitled "The Victim and his Criminal; a study into functional responsibility" It was the result of all these efforts that victimology evolved as a separate branch of studies in 1970's and is now progressing by leaps and bounds.
Difference between Victimology, Criminology, Sociology and Psychology:
Before moving on to the differences, one must be clear about respective definitions since they form the basis for difference.
Criminology is the scientific study of the crime. Sociology is the study of the individuals, groups and institutions