Victimology : Its scope, importance and judicial contribution

Question:- What do you understand by “Victimology”? Describe its scope, importance and judicial contribution to it.


Meaning of Victimology

According to Schaffer Stephen “Victimology” is the science which studies criminal victim relationship. According to Drop Kin, “victimology” is that branch of criminology which primarily studies the victims of crime and everything that is connected with such a victim. The victims’ interests were taken little care and two much attention was being paid on the criminals. The liberal criminologists were concerned with the interests of criminals only but radical criminologists are concerned with the protection of interests of victims also.

Mendelsohn has described victimology as an independent science parallel to Criminology. It can be better called as a science reverse of criminology. He has suggested the words like ‘victimal’ (opposed to criminal), victimity’ (opposed to criminality) and ‘victimal receptivity.”

Read Also Nature and Scope of Criminology

Scope of victimology

“Victimology” is an important branch of criminal science that is concerned with the rights of victims and the protection of their interests. The criminal causes immediate harm to the victim and to the society at large. The reparation of victim for the harm done to him and the rehabilitation must be the aim of the law. Victim has no separate entity. He must be viewed in relationship to the offender. Mendelsohn has described the offender and victim as “penal-couple”. The offender causes harm to a person in body, mind, reputation or property.

Ellenberger has said that certain factors lead to criminal behaviour i.e. criminogenesis and certain factor propel a man to become victim i.e., victimogenesis. Victims need to be studied more e.g. seduction of child. A person must know the dangers to which he is exposed because of his occupation and the class to which he belongs. The evil being deep rooted, warning given by the police and the criminologists is not sufficient. The victim’s personal history, psychological and biological constitution are responsible factors.

Thus the victimology studies-

(1) The contribution by the victim as a factor of crime.

(2) The victims in securing their interests or groups of interests.

(3) Legislative policy about victims.

(4) Administrative policy regarding victims.

(5) Judicial perspective of victims

Importance of Victimology

(1) The analysis of background of victim and the conditions contributing to the crime make the reason of the crime more evident.

(2) The analysis of criminal victim relation helps us to recognise the persons or groups which may be the targets of crime.

(3) The studies relating to victimisation provide those informations relating to the crime, which are not informed to the police.These studies alongwith the studies of information to the police
help to develop principles of crime.

(4) The study of victimology help the formation of effective crime prevention policy.

(5) The seriousness of the crime can be well determined by ascertaining the fact as to what the victim feels about the crime.

Read Also Relationship between Criminology, Criminal Policy and Criminal Law

Judicial Contribution

The judiciary in India has been much helpful to the victims of crime by awarding compensation to the victims and also issuing appropriate directions for taking actions against the criminals and rehabilitation of victims. Some cases will illustrate the point.

In Rudulsah v. State of Bihar, (1983) 4 SCC 141, in this case the Supreme Court directed the Government of Bihar to pay a compensation of Rs. 30,000/- to the victim who languished in jail for fourteen years after his acquittal due to irresponsible behaviour of the state officers.

In Saheli v. Commissioner of Police, AIR 1990 SC 513, the mother of the deceased son who was 9 years’ old was awarded a compensation of Rs. 75,000/- when the deceased was snatched from the mother and thrown on the ground by a police constable and the deceased died due to it.

In Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa, (1994) 4 SCC 260, the Supreme Court awarded a compensation of Rs. 1,50,000/- to the mother of the deceased who died due to police beating.

In Kevalpati v. State of U.P., (1995) 3 SCC 373 the widow and children of a convict killed in jail by a co-convict was awarded a compensation of Rs. 1,00,000/- because of deprivation of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution as the jail authorities failed to protect his

In Bodhisatwa Gautam v. Shubha Chakerborti, (1996) 1 SCC 490, the Supreme Court awarded an interim compensation of Rs. 2,000/- P.M. to the victim till the criminal charges were decided against her teacher who not only induced her to cohabit with him but went through a certain marriage ceremony before the God whom he worshipped and put vermillion on her forhead giving her belief that she had become her lawful wedded wife but after sometime refused to accept her as his wife.

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