Essay Sample on Crime and Victimization

Published: 2023-04-01
Essay Sample on Crime and Victimization
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Criminal law
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 921 words
8 min read

Anybody can be a victim of crime regardless of their race, gender, age, or ethnicity. Victimization can be to a family, individual, community, or group, and crime in its capacity may be to property or individual (Mastrofski & Vardzel, 2017). There are a variety of factors that influence the impact of a crime on an individual victim, their community, or their loved ones. Still, usually, there are psychological, emotional, financial, physical, and social consequences of crime victimization. There are a variety of victim typologies that have been created by victimologists that try to address the relationship between the victim and the offender, and one of such typologies is based on the shared responsibility notion. A victimologist is an individual who has specialized in studying the relationship between a victim and an offender through the examination of causes and the nature of the harm caused or consequent suffering (Sengstock, 2019).

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Theorists have drafted typologies concerned majorly with personal and situational characteristics of victims as well as the relationship that exists between the offender and victims. One of the first criminologists was Benjamin Mendelsohn, who in the 1950s created a victim typology but had controversies (Mastrofski & Vardzel, 2017). The other famous criminologist was Von Hentig. The typologies by these criminologists have significant contributions to our understanding of crime and victimization. There are six victim typologies described by Mendelsohn, and they include the innocent victim, the victim with minor guilt, the guilty victim guilty offender, the guilty offender guiltier victim, guilty victim, and imaginary victim.

The typologies have become characteristic in the victimology field, and have had significant impacts on our understanding of crime and victimization. For example, they have served to define the victims in terms of their levels of innocence or guilt, and this has enabled us to understand how to convict the criminals and how to handle the victims in any event. Through such classifications, it becomes easy to get to the appropriate method of handling the victims and the offenders depending on their categories within the typologies. Looking at the six categories, there are only two of them that are concerned with the victims who are less guilty than the offender, and one of them is viewed such as having at least a minor degree of guilt (Sengstock, 2019). Our understanding of crime and victimization is shaped with the insights from these typologies. Looking at the six categories, for example, there is only one category where the victim is defined as being completely innocent. In disparity, four of the categories have the guilt of the victims stated as being as high as that of the perpetrator. That is, up to 75% of the victims are as guilty as the offenders themselves (Sengstock, 2019). That is quite interesting, especially that we are dealing with criminology, which is a very sensitive thing in locating and assorting criminals from victims.

Three out of the total six categories present victims who are entirely guiltier than the perpetrators. From the victim typologies, we are made to understand that that the bulk of victims are in no sense complete innocent. Besides, the typologies give examples of children and the unconscious as the prime example of the innocent, and this establishes a frame of reference in us whereby there is no appearance of the conscious adult (Mastrofski & Vardzel, 2017). If this is to go by, then we get to understand that by omission, we assume that any adult in their right state of mind who is victimized might have in one way or another triggered the offender to do the act. The other controversial issue is the number of categories, whereby when one of them is devoted to innocent victims, the rest of the five are to the victims who in some ways are culpable for the event. That brings to our understanding the notion that the bulk of victims are at least partially guilty.

The legal system assumes basically that in a dispute, there is one party that 100% responsible for the crime and therefore guilty, and another innocent party (Zur, 2014). Whereas the responsibility is evident in some cases, the situation is more complicated in most cases. If there is any room for reinforcing victim blaming, then the following should be done. Blames begets blame, just like violence begets violence. The blaming behaviour of victims and their lack of accountability are the reasons why they continuously get injured, hurt, and abused. The blame approach is not an effective way of solving disputes, nor in protecting the victims. Systems analysis approach should be an alternative. The approach is concerned with how the victimization dynamics develop, their escalation towards violence, and what can be done to make the perpetrators shift towards non-violent resolutions (Zur, 2014). The approach is not concerned with who is to be blamed or who is right, and this is where the victim typology gets it wrong. System analysis approach offers ways that can intervene and hopefully bring to an end the violence patterns. In this manner, victim-blaming will be reinforced, and the solution will be long term.


Mastrofski, S. D., & Vardzel, L. (2017). Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System: ADM J 111: Department of Administration of Justice, College of the Liberal Arts. Pennsylvania State University, Department of Independent Learning. Retrieved from

Sengstock, M. C. (2019). The Culpable Victim in Mendelsohn's Typology. Retrieved from

Zur, O. (2014). Rethinking 'Don't Blame the Victim' The Psychology of Victimhood. Journal of Couples Therapy, 4(3-4), 15-36. Retrieved from

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