Theories of victimology

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Various theories of victimology exist, each with the aim of explaining why certain people become victims of crimes, and why others do not. Some people view some theories in a negative light, believing that to conjecture as to the causes of victimisation is tantamount to blaming the victim for crime, at least partly.[1]

Abuse in general[edit]

The lifestyle/exposure theory is a model of victimology that posits that the likelihood an individual will suffer a personal victimization depends heavily upon the concept of life style. The lifestyle theory is constructed upon several premises. The most important of the premises are:

  • The uneven distribution of criminal victimization across space and time. This translates to the occurrence of high-risk places and high-risk times.
  • Offenders do not constitute a representative sample of the general population. This translates to the occurrence of high-risk persons.
  • Lifestyle determines the likelihood of personal victimization through the intervening variables of exposure and association.
  • People are not equally exposed to high-risk places and times, and they vary in the degree to which they associate with high-risk persons. This translates to a persons lifestyle influencing the exposure and association with low-risk persons.[1]

Abuse towards women[edit]

The interpersonal model describes violence against women as a consequence of individual psychology and abnormal interpersonal relations.[2]

The family violence model explains the phenomenon more in terms of socioeconomic and educational factors.[2]

Finally, the gender-politics model is an attempt to schematise abuse of women as attempts by males in general to maintain their position of power over females.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Victimology Theory". Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  2. ^ a b c Rosenberg (1991), pg. 124


  • Rosenberg, Mark L.; Mary Ann Fenley (1991). Violence in America: a public health approach. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 978-0-19-506437-7.