Festschrift for Hans Joachim Schneider
Victimology at the Transition From the 20th to the 21st Century. Essays in Honor of Hans Joachim Schneider
Dedicated on the Occasion of the Xth International Symposium on Victimology in Montreal, Canada 6-11 August 2000 By the Executive Committee of World Society of Victimology to the Founding President of WSV
Edited by Paul C. Friday and Gerd Ferdinand Kirchhoff
2000 Shaker Verlag in cooperation with WSVP World Society of Victimology Publishing Monchengladbach
Needed: Victim's Victimology
by Sarah Ben-David1
The principal aim of this article is to trace and evaluate the emergence, development and current status of the attempts to analyze and explain the phenomenology of victims of crime from a theoretical point of view. Furthermore, it is postulated that there is a need for a victim's internally understood victimology, parallel to feminine feminism (as understood from the female experience), that will serve as a bridge between the humanistic victimology and the academic discipline, between victimology as a social movement and victimology as science, and between victims' suffering and the theoretical study of the phenomenon.
The emergence of the victim of crime as an object of study is largely the product of the past sixty years. In 1937 Benjamin Mendelsohn started the scientific study of victims of crime, and introduced "the science of the victim", for which in 1947 he coined the term "Victimology" (1956). Later on, in 1948, the other (or second) forefather von Hentig, published his book: "The Criminal and his Victim" (1948/1979)2
In 1979 the World Society of Victimology was founded in Munster by criminologist like Hans Joachim Schneider and others. This development can be seen as an important mile stone in the development and recognition of Victimology as a scientific discipline3. Twenty years after, it seems appropriate now to reconsider and evaluate the development of Victimology.
The state of the art in Victimology, like other sciences, especially psychology and medicine, must be judged both by the virtue of its scientific development and by the quality of its services for
Department of Criminology, Bar lIan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel. The author thanks Ellen Jastrebske for her help in the preparation 01 the manuscript. 2 Hoffman, 1992; Kirchhoff 1993, Friday, 1989
Victim's Victimology Sarah Ben David
the victims. From this perspective, an important question arises, what is Victimology? Is Victimology a social movement or a science? Birkbeck4 in his article entitled 'Victimology is What Victimologists Do, But What Should They Do?' examines the relationship between Victimology as a science and as advocacy for victims, and add a critical examination on victimology as a science. Facing this issue Kirchhoff5 indicated that the focus of Victimology is twofold: victim assistance and advocacy of their rights, as well as the promotion of research about victims. Both6 agree that that Victimology needs to develop further its science, and its own "strada of interests and explanations", and address the significance of the area of study for the development of theory within this discipline. Confronting this subject Friday7 is more approving; he asserts that Victimology has come of age. Awareness of victim needs and rights, and understanding of the process of victimization has significantly grown and evolved. Victims, their needs and their rights, are consistently acknowledged in word if not in deed. The victim has become a political tool or weapon, the concept and issues have moved from the domain of pioneering social movement to operations within well organized social agencies.
Scientific development is judged by its scope and its depth. Scope without depth makes what we do tenuous, superficial and without essence8. However from these two dimensions Victimology has still to justify its...
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