The Color of Victimology: An Analysis of Race and Crimes

The Color of Victimology: An Analysis of Race and Crimes

Kyrie Hernandezpeterson (Hutton and Associates, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1088-8.ch006
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Victims are the center of the criminal justice system. However, negative treatment by any service provider discourages individuals from taking advantage of the services being offered to victims through various organizations in their respective communities. The study of victims (victimology) is informative on the physical, psychological, and emotional effects crimes have on victims. Victim assistance programs and resources have substantially grown over the years in an effort to improve protection to all and assist in pursuing proper justice for victims and those suffering from victimization. The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) and Uniform Crime Report (UCR) are used to gather statistics to further victim research. High profile cases in the media have led to the criminal justice system being deemed biased. Statistics do not substantiate racial discrimination in victimology or in the criminal justice system. There are instances of discrimination in select cases, but as a whole, the criminal justice system should not be viewed as discriminative. The focus should be placed on refining victim assistance programs and being creative in providing the proper resources victims need to receive the justice they deserve and the care and help they need.
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Scholars have argued that the criminal justice system is not biased, that the allegation of the criminal justice system being discriminative is a myth (Heather MacDonald, 2008). One scholar, Heather MacDonald, argued that statistics are interpreted in different ways by various experts to enhance their personal views. This means that some data may actually conflict with the reality of what is truly occurring. Whenever race and ethnicity become entangled in the victimization process it becomes more complex, adding controversy to an already difficult situation for all involved. Thus, in the criminal justice system the word “victim” is a widely discussed term. In general, a victim is viewed as an individual against whom some type of crime has been committed. In reality, there are several different subdivisions of the general term “victim”. The first category is known as primary victims. A primary victim is any individual that has been directly affected by any crime that has been committed against him. For example, a female that has been raped would be considered a primary victim (Queensland Government, 2015).

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