Victimology and predicting victims of personal violence

Gaelle L.M. Brotto*, Grant Sinnamon, Wayne Petherick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Criminal behavior must necessarily involve a perpetrator and a victim. Despite the obvious necessity of this relationship, it is the perpetrator who has historically received the lion's share of the public's and the legal system's attention. Victims have been largely the domain of special interest groups whose sole reason for existence is the care and welfare of victims of crime, either generically or within the context of specific criminal victimization such as domestic violence or sexual assault. This attentional bias has extended to academic enquiry where the historical focus has been on exploring offender characteristics in order to understand the circumstances, motivations, and behavioral factors that lead to the perpetration of a criminal act. However, there is an increasing merit being given to the provision of a more balanced exploration of the two sides of the criminal act. Accordingly, contemporary discourse has begun to recognize the value in improving our knowledge of victims and their unique role in the criminal process. Several models have been proposed to help explain the characteristics of both offenders and victims, and the way in which these characteristics influence the risk of offending and/or becoming a victim of a criminal act. The "seven-factor model of victim characteristics" is the latest iteration of these typological models and represents an empirically founded culmination of several previous victim typologies. This chapter presents the story of the emergence of the field of victimology, the concepts and controversies surrounding the field, the major offender and victim typology models that have been proposed, and finally, the details of the new "seven-factor model of victim characteristics.".

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe psychology of criminal and antisocial behavior
Subtitle of host publicationVictim and offender perspectives
EditorsW Petherick, G Sinnamon
Number of pages66
ISBN (Electronic)9780128095775
ISBN (Print)9780128092873
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2017


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