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Von Hentig's Theory on Victimology

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Victimology is a fairly new concept that branches off of criminology and is defined as the study of the relationships between an injured party and the offender (Victimology, 2012). In this study, the causes and character of the resulting pain is examined. More specifically, was the offender a stranger, or was there some type of relationship between the offender and the victim? It also studies why certain people and places are targeted. Hans Von Hentig contrived a theory regarding why it is that it is possible for criminals to prey on select individuals (Karmen, 2010). He determined that crimes happen to certain types of people and that they are to blame for their victimization and not the offender. There are seven different psychological types of victims which will be listed and explained within this paper. This paper will also give several examples for each type and how they relate to both direct and indirect domestic violence.

Define Direct Victim:

It is important to understand what is meant by a "direct" victim before we can show examples of the various types of victims in relation to it. Those that experience the criminal act first hand are considered direct victims (Karmen, 2010). An example of a direct victim would be a woman who suffers abuse at the hands of her husband.

Define Indirect Victim:

An indirect victim refers to someone that is not directly involved or injured in the criminal act but is still affected by it in some way (Karmen, 2010). An example of this would be the child of an abused mother is not abused themselves, but are affected by the abuse they witness their mother going through.

The Depressed Victim:

The depressed victim is defined as an individual that is so emotionally unbalanced and focused on what is making them sad, that they are unable to notice what is going on around them. Von Hentig believed that these individuals are dispirited and passive to the point where they are unable to fight (Wolbert Burgess & Regehr, 2012). An individual could suffer from depression as a result of domestic violence, whether the abuse is direct or indirect. As a young child watching their father beat their mother on a regular basis, they may suffer from depression even though they had not experienced the abuse directly.

The Acquisitive:

This particular type of victim is so focused on becoming successful that they will allow themselves to be placed in potentially bad positions without thinking about the consequences (Wolbert Burgess & Regehr, 2012). It is my belief that an example of an acquisitive victim is one that in a desire to become wealthy falls prey to an email scam promising them riches and all they have to do is provide some personal information. The end result to this scenario is that they end up losing everything. This individual becomes the direct victim and any family individuals that are affected by these losses become the indirect victims.

The Wanton Victim:

This individual needs other elements to be going on to motivate their actions. Drugs and alcohol may often accelerate their behavior and make it easier for them to behave in a way that they would not normally behave if drugs and alcohol were not involved (Wolbert Burgess & Regehr, 2012) . The example that comes to mind in regards to this particular type of victim is that of a drug addicted runaway who is lured into a life of prostitution by a pimp in order to get that next high. Often time's teenage runaways are victims of neglect or abuse at home which in turn leads them to live a life on the streets. The indirect victims in this



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