Forensic Victimology - Deepstash
Forensic Victimology

Forensic Victimology

Brent E. Turvey

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Sacrificial Shadows: Exploring the Origins of Victimhood

Historically, the Latin term victima was used to describe animals or humans whose lives were destined to be sacrificed as an offering to a divinity. This was generally in relation to a religious ceremony, with females the preferred sacrifice for certain goddesses.

The word victima was not used to suggest pain, suffering, or loss. Rather, it suggested a sacrificial role, preferably the result of consent; fear and panic from the intended sacrifice were regarded as bad omens (see generally Green, 2001).


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Evolution of Suffering: From Ancient Rituals to Modern Injustice

It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the word victim was used negatively, in connection with harm or loss in general (Spalek, 2006).

In the modern criminal justice system, the word victim has come to describe any person who has experienced injury, loss, or hardship due to the illegal action of another individual, group, or organization (see generally Karmen, 2012). The term victimology first appeared in 1949, in a book about murderers written by forensic psychiatrist Fredric Wertham.


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Victimology Unveiled: Tracing the Roots and Realities of Harm

It was specifically used to describe the study of individuals harmed by criminals (Karmen, 2012).

In modern usage, the term victimology refers generally to the scientific study of victims and victimization, including the relationships between victims and offenders, investigators, courts, corrections, media, and social movements (Karmen, 2012).


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