Victim: Meaning and Kinds

Question:- Who is victim? How will you classify the victim


Define Victim. What are kinds of victim.


Meaning of Victim

“Victims” means persons who, individually or collectively, have suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that do not yet constitute violations of national criminal laws but of internationally recognized norms relating to human rights.

Victim is a person who suffers injury or loss in body, mind, reputation or property. The cause of the injury or loss may be any thing. If the cause of injury or loss is ‘crime’, the person sustaining such injury or loss is victim of crime.

A victim is the person who sustains physical, material or moral injury by the act of the offender. Victim is also a close relative of the person who sustains fatal injury. Thus, in case of murder, the victims are the dependants of the deceased besides deceased. Sometimes, the victim may not be a specific individual but a family, a group of persons a body corporate or the society at large.

The victim as defined by Section 2 (wa) of Cr. P.C. is as follows:

“A person who suffered directly or threatened physical, emotional or pecuniary harm as a result of commission of a crime, or in the case of a victim being an institutional entity, any of the similar harm by an individual or authorised representative of another entity or group who are essentially covered under civil or constitutional law and deserves assistance by the criminal justice system.”

In the administration of criminal justice, there has been much emphasis on bringing the criminal to the book but there has been little attention towards the problems of victims. With the emphasis gaining on victim separation, the ‘victimology’ has developed as a new branch of criminology which deals with the victim-offender relation, the societal, administrative, legislative and judicial reaction and the legal measures for restitution, compensation and rehabilitation of the victims.

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According to Mendelsohn, there are following kinds of victims.-

(1) Completely innocent victims e.g. infants and children without realising what is being done to them.

(2) Victims with minor guilt e.g. the pregnant women going to quacks for abortion and dying at their hands.

(3) Victims guilty equal to the offender e.g. in sexual relations.

(4) Victims more guilty than offenders e.g. those who abet the crime against themselves.

(5) The most guilty types of victims e.g. rapists who commit the crime and are harmed or killed by the victim acting in self defence.

(6) Simulating or pretending victims e.g. paranoids, hysterial and senile persons giving evidence in the courts for securing conviction of the accused.

According to Walter Reckless, the victims are of following kinds-

(1) Reporting victims.-These are the victims who are willing to report the crimes against them.

(2) Non-reporting victims.-These are the victims who are not willing to report the crimes as of fear of reprisal or social consequences.

According to Fattah victims are of following kinds.-

(1) Participating victim,

(2) Non-participating victim,

(3) Provocation victim,

(4) Latent victim,

(5) False victim.

According to Wolfgang, there are following kinds of victims.-

(1) Personal or individual victims.

(2) Impersonal victims e.g. a thief in a departmental store or a person travelling without a ticket on a roadways bus.

(3) Tertiary victims, affecting the public or administration.

(4) Mutual victims e.g. adulteress intercourse.

(5) Victim not immediately recognizable.

According to Von Hentig there are following kinds of victims.

(1) Victims whose injury may be a price of greater gain.

(2) Victims who bring about detrimental results.

(3) Victims who provoke or instigate the opponents by challenging them to commit the crime against them and the opponents accept the challenge and attack the victims and kill then.

(4) Victims desiring injuries.

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According to him victims may also be classified as lethargic, submissive, cooperative or provocative.

The types of victims may be many more in number according to the nature of the offence or harm but an attempt has been made here to classify them as follows-

1. Victims of crimes against human body.

2. Victims of collective violence.

3. Victims of terrorism.

4. Victims of sexual offences.

5. Victims of crimes against property.

6. Victims of offences against Food and Drug Adulteration.

7. Victims of environmental pollution.

8. Victims of industrial hazards.

9. Victims of cyber crimes.

10. Victims of corruption.

11. Victims of offences against reputation.

12. Victims of societal labours.

13. Victims of consumer crimes.

14. Victims of sex discrimination

15. Victims of domestic violence.

16. Victims of police torture.

17. Victims of administrative authority.

18. Victims of dilatory judicial system.

19. Identifiable victims and unidentifiable victims.

20. Primary, secondary and tertiary victims.

21. Latent victims.

22. Participating and non-participating victims.

23. Provoked victims.

24. Retaliating victims.

25. Police as victims.

26. Criminals dependants as victims.

27. Victims of politics.

28. Victims of offences affecting the Public Health, Safety, Convenience, Decency and morals.

29. Victims of offences relating to Documents and to Property Marks.

30. Victims of the offences of Criminal Breach of Contract of Service.

31. Victims of offences relating to Marriage.

In I.P.C., the offences have been defined under various chapters e.g. offences against human body, offences against property etc. The corresponding victims are those who sustain injuries due to criminal acts.

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