Victimology extends far beyond simply the victim of a crime. It also includes examining the patterns of crime and social factors such as social status, working conditions and health that influence crime and victims. When working in the field of victimology, you may be working directly with victims or work indirectly with victims by researching or investigating crimes that create victims.
Many law enforcement departments and district attorney's offices offer victim advocacy services. As a victim advocate, you help victims and witnesses by helping them understand the court system. You educate them on what to expect during interviews and at the trial. In addition, you make sure the victim is aware of available resources such as counseling.
Other victim assistance agencies may also employ victim advocates. Your responsibilities could include speaking to victims who call a hotline or providing services and resources at a domestic violence shelter.
Victims often benefit from counseling to help them process the events and regain a sense of security and power after the crime. As a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist, you will help the victim work through the trauma associated with the crime. You also help the victim explore and break any patterns that might have preceded the patient becoming a victim. In some cases, a psychologist might work with the courts and attorneys to provide an analysis of the state of mind of the victim.
Expertise in victimology is extremely valuable for careers in law and law enforcement. As a law enforcement officer, you will be helping victims by investigating crimes and arresting perpetrators. As an attorney, you will also have a deeper understanding of crime and be better able to understand and question victims during the interview and trial process.
Social workers often deal with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Understanding victimology allows you to provide the best resources for individuals and families. You will also help them break any patterns of violence and create a safe home environment and positive future.
Researchers examine patterns of victims and crime. This knowledge is then used to help recognize dangerous situations and prevent future crimes. Some examples of studies that have been conducted by the National Institute of Justice and the Office for Victims of Crime include patterns of violence toward women and indicators of school crime and safety.