Effects of victimization

Question:- What are the effects of victimization?


Victimization leaves grave impacts on the victim’s physical health, mental health as well as financial state. It leaves an impact on an individual’s ability to perform across a variety of roles, including those related to parenting, intimate relationships, and occupational and social functioning. It causes disruptions in social activities and impaired functioning in social relationships.

Meaning of Victimization

Victimization is an asymmetrical interpersonal relationship that is abusive, painful, destructive, parasitical, and unfair. It is the scientific study of the physical, emotional, and financial harm which people suffer because of illegal activities. The study of Victimization includes the relationships between victims and offenders, the interactions between victims and the criminal justice system, viz. the police and courts, and correctional officials and the connections between victims and other social groups and institutions, such as the media, businesses, and social movements.

It is a highly complex process surrounded by a number of possible factors. The first factor, which is called ‘primary victimization’, comprises all the interactions that might have taken place between offender and ‘victim’ during the commission of the offence,
plus any after-effects arising from this interaction or from the offence itself.

Victims may be confused, fearful, frustrated and angry. They want to know why this
happened, and why it happened to them. Victims often have no knowledge of who or
where to turn in the aftermath of crime. They feel insecure and do not know who to trust or rely on for support, understanding, and help. Not only do they suffer physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially from their victimization, they are also often burdened by the complexity of the criminal justice system.

Read Also Victimology : Its scope, importance and judicial contribution

Effects/Impact of Victimization

The effects of crime on victim may reflect in the form of physical, financial or psychological impact:

(1) The Emotional Impact of Victimization

Shock, disbelief and denial – Initially, victims may find it difficult to believe they have
become a victim of crime. They may even pretend that it did not happen at all. These
reactions can last for a few moments or they may be present for months and even years. It is not uncommon for victims to assume a ‘childlike’ state and may even need to be cared for by others for some time. It is also common for victims to feel as though the crime occurred when they were in a dreamlike state. Once the initial shock of the crime has worn off, victims may experience other emotions such as anger, fear, frustration, confusion, guilt, shame, and grief.

Anger or rage – Victims may be angry with God, the offender, service providers, family members, friends, the criminal justice system, or even themselves. Many victims experience strong desires for revenge or getting even. Hate may even felt by victims. These strong emotions are often disapproved of by the rest of society, which can leave the victim feeling like an outcast. It is certainly justified for victims to feel anger toward the person or people who harmed them.

Fear or Terror – It is common for victims to feel terror or fear following a crime that
involved a threat to one’s safety or life, or to someone else a victim cares about. Fear can cause a person to have panic attacks if they are ever reminded of the crime. Fear can last for quite some time following the commission of a crime and under certain circumstances, it can become debilitating. Fear or terror that becomes overwhelming is unhealthy and victims should consult their family physician about it as soon as possible.

Read Also Importance of the Study of the Criminology

Frustration – Many victims are frustrated by the feelings of helplessness or powerlessness that surface when the crime takes place. This can be especially true if victims were unable to fend off an offender, call for help or run away. After the crime, victims may continue to feel frustration if they cannot access the support and information that is necessary to their healing.

Confusion – Victims of crime may become confused if they are unsure of what actually happened, as crimes often occur quickly and are chaotic. Victims might also become confused while searching for answers to questions like “why did this happen to me?” It may be impossible to find out why someone else intended to hurt them.

Guilt or self-blame – Blaming oneself is common. Many victims believe they were “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” If the victim does not have someone to blame, they will often blame themselves. Guilt is also common when no offender is found. Later on, when reflecting upon the crime, victims might feel guilty for not doing more to prevent what happened. Lastly, some victims will experience ‘survivor guilt’ – they feel guilty that they survived while someone else was injured or even killed. If a loved one is murdered, surviving family and friends may even blame the victim. Too often, society blames victims as well.

Shame and humiliation – Sadly, some victims blame themselves, particularly victims of sexual abuse/assault or domestic violence. In crimes involving sexual acts, offenders often degrade the victim by making them do humiliating things. Victims of rape, for example, have long-lasting feelings of “being dirty”, and those feelings cannot be “washed away.” Some victims even feel self-hatred because they believe that they can no longer be loved by those who are close to them.

Grief or Sorrow – Intense sadness is often the most powerful long-term reaction to crime. It is common for victims to become depressed after a crime occurs.

(2)The Physical Impact of Victimization

The victims of crimes of violence suffer physical injury ranging from minor to fatal injuries. The victim has the right to defend himself. Not only the victim but any person has the right to defend the victim as soon as reasonable danger to the body of victim starts and the right continues so long as such danger continues. In some cases, under Section 100 of I.P.C., the right extends even to the extent of causing death. Under Section 101 of I.P.C., as a right to private defence of person, one may cause harm other than death and under Section 102 of I.P.C., the conditions are mentioned when such right starts and extinguishes.

The victim sometimes may suffer such injury as to make him permanently physically handicapped by the loss of some limb e.g., hands, legs or eyes. Such victims and their dependants need permanent attention by the Government for their financial support. The need is to create a permanent assistance programme by the Government. N.G.Os may also play good role in this respect.

In the offences involving adulteration of food and drugs, the victims may suffer physical and mental injury both as taking of adulterated food or drugs not only may impair the physical and mental capability but sometimes may also lead to the death of the victim.

(3) The Financial Impact of Victimization

Victims of financial loss are those who suffer loss financially due to the nature of the offences committed. The offences against property are the offences in which victims sustain the loss of property. In offences involving violence and offences against human body also, victims suffer financial losses. Thus, in a riot, there happens to be enormous looking and destruction of immovable and movable property both. In offences against human body, the victims suffering physical handicapness become sometimes incapable of doing employment or self-employment. Besides, they also incur expenses for their medical treatment and also high cost of litigation. When the victims suffer fatal injuries, their families have to bear the expenses in funeral or burial and follow on social traditions. The dependants of the earning member who looses life are more vulnerable. The financial stringencies and the poverty in such situation bring mental agony and traumatize the entire family of the deceased.

(3) The Psychological Impact of Victimization

The mental torment and trauma suffered by the effect of crime may be such as no reparation can make up. The crimes against violence, sometimes, affect victims permanently incapacitating them to behave as a responsible persons of the society and they out of feeling of revenge become hardened criminals. There are illustrations when not only the immediate affected victims turn into criminals but their future generations also become involved in family-feuds. Similarly, the rape tarnishes the whole personality of a ravished woman and she either has to console herself with the circumstances or may take extreme steps such as suicide or may become criminal in the revenge. Some victims may, develop neurotic disorders. In cases of riots and communal violence, where the people loose their nears and dears, the agony suffered by them may be tormentous. Brutalisation of the children, as the researches show, “Little victims grow into big terrorists.”.

Leave a Comment