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Author: Megha chandravanshi, V year of B.A.,LL.B. from Geeta institute of law, panipat, Haryana


The concept of victimology is rather new in the realms of the legal field. One of the major roles of victimology is become more thoughtful regarding impacts of a crime on a victim. The aim of this field is to study the crime in a manner to provide liability and role of the victim and his offender. The designation of a victim is more or less includes any person who suffers any loss or injury due to the action of any other person. The accurate sense of victimology can be said to be the relationship between the victim and the offender. Victimology which is derivative from the branch of criminology entirely deals with victims as they required to be treated with understanding and fairness behavior under our criminal justice system. Even victimology is derived from criminology and they are vary from each other hence criminology is linked to chain of causation which has caused crime while victimology is for the most part concerned about consequences of crime and provided that legal remedies meant for victims.

What is Victimology?

The importance of victimology[1] is defined as the scientific study of the victims of crime and their relationship with an offender. In general, the field of victimology significantly examines the crime victim, the perpetrator of the crime and the offender. A crime victim is lawfully defined in the United States that is a person who is go through physical, sexual, financial or emotional harm or hurt as the effect of a crime. Perpetrators are defined under the law that is the individual who perpetrates or commits a crime, while the offender is defined also that is the individual who causes the crime to be committed. The perpetrator and offender, both are also the same individual or they are different people too.

Victimology in the law

Victimology is defined as the study of the wrong or crime and the victim of wrong. Using data on demographics combined with data collected on the crime itself, crime analysts and professionals in the field of criminal justice use victimology in both investigations and in the deterrence of future crimes. Crime victims are often subject to a wide range of emotions and issues that impact their ability to process their unique situation, especially directly following the commission of a crime against them. A victim might have different needs depending upon the nature and severity of the crime committed against them.

Victimology in the India

Victimology has evolved for the most part due to specific broad rights, judiciary and some laws which indicated towards the rights of the victim in India. Or in India, if there is no code or law made specifically for victims then there are numerous legislation in Indian system which helps to proceed the rights of the victims and make specific offender re-inhabitant in the society.

The constitution of India, article 14 and 21 are too broad to give satisfactory protection to victims. And for the benefit of victims, there are some rights. That are getting timely and fair justice , The right to attend the criminal justice, the right to be heard, the right to be informed, the right to be compensated, right to choose the advocate, right to get advocate, the right to be protected under the law, the right to restitution, the right to get speedy trial etc..

In the landmark case of Rudul Shah vs. State of Bihar ,

The Supreme Court ordered the Government of Bihar to pay to Rudul Sah a further sum of Rs.30,000 as compensation, which according to the court was of a “palliative nature”, in addition to a sum of Rs.5,000, in a case of illegal incarceration of the victim for long years. From the 1980s, the court’s judgements have continuously indicated their efforts and concern about comprehensive law on victim justice. Various committees have been set up to look deeply into this matter. The law commission and Justice V S Mallimath committee have stated that state should provide assistance to victims from their own fund and look upon the victim’s right to participate in cases.

In Rattan Singh v. State of Punjab,

Held:- : It is a weakness of our jurisprudence that the victims of the crime do not attract the attention of law. Indeed, victim reparation is still the vanishing point of our criminal law. This is a deficiency in the system which must be rectified by the legislature.A more attention should be drawn to this matter. In Maru Ram v. Union of India

Held:- While social responsibility of the criminal to restore the loss or heal the injury is a part of the punitive exercise, the length of the prison term is no reparation to the crippled or bereaved but is futility compounder with cruelty.

In Dayal Singh v State of Uttaranchal

Held: The criminal trial is meant for doing justice to all- the accused, the society and the victim. The courts do not merely discharge the function to ensure that no innocent man is punished, but also that the guilty man does not escape.

Impact of victimology in India

The impact of crime on victim may be

  • Physical impact

  • Financial impact

  • Psychological impact

Physical impact

The victim is to be expected to experience a number of physical effects or activities to crime through which he has fallen into the category of victim. These may include hyper-tension, increased heart-beats, numbness, grief, sadness etc. At the time of crime being committed against a person, he/she has to choose between "fight and flight” that is ether to fight against the perpetrator of crime and offer confrontation and meekly fall a prey to his criminal act. Many a times, the physical reaction may not occur until the threat or danger has passed away and through these the victim may suffer from a mental trauma at a later stage when his memory returns and he may suffer the distress or shock even all the way through his/her life or more significant like physical impact of crime on the victim, that is physical hurt which may be clear and instant or may be realized by the victim at a later on his or her life stage. The injuries caused by knives or fire-arms are usually fatal and more damaging. There may be some physical injuries which have a permanent effect whereas some may be of a temporary nature i.e. healable in course of time.

Financial impact

The impact of financial of crime on the victim which may be in the given forms, that are:-

  • The costs and the expenses acquiring in medical treatment for his or her physical hurts

  • The damage of property

  • Cannot afford litigation cost while fighting against the crime and criminal

  • The loss of employment due to loss of earnings;

  • Funeral or burial expenses also if happens any.

In some cases, the victim may be compelled to shift somewhere else for security or other reasons. In that case, he has to bear additional costs of shifting and expenditure for resetting life somewhere else. Besides the physical and financial impact, the marital life even destroys of his settled family life. It also happens in case of women who are victims of rape , victim of acid attack or any other sexual offence.

The offences like murder, rape, torture, assault, robbery etc. have a long lasting effect on victim such as insecurity, fear, helplessness, anger etc. not only in the victim but the community as a whole which might also feel insecure.

Researches on victimology have shown that the effect of victimization is particularly too hard on poor, disabled and socially neglected people. In many cases, it so happens that once a victim has fallen a prey to a crime, he/she is susceptible to subsequent victimisation by the same crime or other form of crime. This is often true in case of victims of rape. These "repeat-victims" find it difficult to get out of the clutches of the perpetrator of crime for a variety of reasons.

Psychological impact

In this impact the victim is confronted with the crime perpetrator instantaneous reaction that will be annoyance, anger or fright or panic behavior depending on his physical strength and competence to face the misfortune. Shocking behavior and mental trauma go after the crime has been committed and the victim regains senses and is able to recapitulate as to how he has been victimised.

The psychological impact of victimization is undoubtedly reflected in the behavioral responses of the victim through which they may started to consume increased alcoholism and drugs, separation from social relationships, escaping from people's contact and so on. But there are some victims who are able to shed aside their suffering or distress and return to the normal life in course of time period .

The capacity of victims to cope with the effect of crime varies depending on his/her mental frame. While some victims may develop a serious post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), others may not be so affected. The PTSD assumes a more serious form when victim finds that he/she is not believed or people do not want to share her horrible experiences and attribute his/her victimization to his/her own fault or carelessness.

Conclusion The entire criminal justice system in India is offender oriented. Many a times even the judiciary, the legislative and the executive is concerned about the rights of the accused or the criminal. The criminal justice system has to function thereby to provide justice to the victims for which the judicial system must be accessible to those who demand justice. If the system fails to ensure that the victims and witnesses voice out without fear, participate in court proceedings, have their interests and rights protected, then justice would remain only in letter and not in spirit.

Needless to say, the system should also guarantee the protection of victim's families for their testimonies to be true and prosecution to be fair. Our society always blames the victim for the crime and not the actual offender. The situation would have been different had the rights of the victims been taken care by the state and the law been tough on the offenders. To empower thedistressed victims and to assure them with their rights, the above said suggestions need a legislative frame work.

End notes

1. The term “Victimology” was first used by French lawyer Benjamin Mendelsohn in the year 1947

2. 1983 AIR 1086, 1983 SCR (3) 508

3. 1980 AIR 84, 1980 SCR(1) 846

4. 1980 AIR 2147, 1981 SCR(1) 1196

5. (2012),8 SCC 263


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