Welcome to the
second volume of the Journal of the Australasian Society of
Victimology. The journal unfortunately has not been published
for several years. The reasons for this are many and varied;
suffice to say that the Executive of the Australasian Society of
Victimology has been preoccupied with the organisation of the
8th International Symposium on Victimology held in August 1994
in Adelaide and, thereafter, the production of the text
International Victimology (1996).
What does the
‘new’ journal hold for its readers? The journal is intended to
give readers a broad appreciation of victimological material.
The journal, as this edition illustrates, will examine a range
of issues and introduce diverse perspectives. In addition, the
journal will from time to time include resource material for
those involved in teaching victimology and, of course, those
been described as the scientific study of victims. But, is
victimology a social science or a social movement? Is it
possible to reconcile scientific and service dichotomies?
The scope of
victimology has been subject to much debate. Elias (1986), for
example, argues for a global victimology, whereas Fattah (1991)
narrows the scope of victimology to criminal victimisation.
Knudten (1992) proposed the scope of victimology include:
criminal/penal victimology, political victimology, economic
victimology, familial victimology, and medical victimology.
Kirchhoff (1988; 1993, p37), however, suggests:
"Regardless where one stays, victimologists in general would
insist that there is too much suffering in the world, too
much suffering from man-made causes. Whether an
independent field or a science related enterprise, the task of
understanding and reducing this suffering by man through
man is justification enough to keep the field alive."
The concept of
victimisation is ‘a rather complex one’ (Fattah 1991). The
sources of victimisation can be divided into either natural or
human. Natural victimisation includes disasters, health hazards
and predatory agents. Human victimisation includes
self-infliction, criminal and civil acts or omissions.
Victimisation can also be categorised under other
classifications and typologies. For example, Sellin and
Wolfgang (1964) describe victimisation as primary, secondary,
tertiary, or mutual. They also identify a class of ‘no
victimisation’. The Landau, Freeman Longo (1990) typology
offers a multidimensional composite of the sources of
important question is: who is a victim (or perhaps, what is a
victim)? In an earlier journal O’Connell (1992) explored ‘who is
a victim of crime?’ The paper showed that victim of crime has
many connotations; the meaning of victim per se is far more
extensive. Karmen (1996), for example, says victim includes
‘all those who experience injury, loss or hardship due to any
as those posed are only a few of the concerns for victimologists,
whether they be social scientists (such as criminologists) or
service providers (such as Victim Support Services). According
to Friday (1993) the progress of victimology ‘depends on how
effectively the theory/praxis debate is resolved and the extent
to which victimology balances depth and scope’. Keeping things
in balance, therefore, becomes a major challenge, not only for
victimologists, but for the journal. Each of the articles in
this journal provides some insight and direction in victimology.
draws on the Australian inquiry into the ‘stolen generation’ of
indigenous people to argue that victimology is not limited to
criminal victimisation, rather it includes abuse of power
resulting in violations of human rights. Within this context,
he concludes that the ‘stolen generation’ victims should be
entitled to access to compensation, just like crime victims.
Commissioner, David Hunt focuses on improving community safety
by reducing crime and alleviating fear of crime. In his paper
he describes a long and dearly held objective, a ‘values-based’
whole of community approach to crime prevention.
Chockalingham describes developments in compensation for victims
of abuse of power in India. With reference to a range of
leading cases he identifies a positive trend towards upholding
fundamental rights of victims of abuse of, for instance, police
brutality. He also examines the concepts of sovereign power and
The final paper
is this edition of the journal is by Chris Sumner, President of
the Australasian Society of Victimology. He re-examines the
debate surrounding victims involvement in sentencing. His paper
addresses a number of issues raised across Australia, in
particular the eastern borders, regarding victim impact
statements. His paper, however, is not limited to victim impact
statements, rather it offers a comparison of crime victims’
rights in South Australia and New South Wales.
section of this journal is dedicated to resource material, which
as mentioned the editors will on occasion include. This journal
includes material from various sources pertaining to victim
impact statements in Australia.
1986 The Politics of Victimisation, Oxford University
Fattah, E. A.,
1991 Understanding Criminal Victimisation, Prentice
Hall, Scarborough, Ontario, Canada. (See also: Fattah, E. A.,
1994 ‘Some problematic concepts, unjustified criticism and
popular misconceptions’, in G. F. Kirchhoff, E. Kosovski & H. J.
Schneider (Eds) International Debates of Victimology, WSV
Publishing, Monchengladbach, pp82-103.)
Friday, P. C.,
1993 ‘Victimology as an encompassing concept’, in S.P. Singh
Makkar & P. Friday (Eds.) Global Perspectives in Victimology,
ABS Publications, Jalandhar, India, pp3-18.
1996 Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology,
Wadsworth Publishing, USA
F., 1988 Criminology and the Human Sciences, Plenary Session,
10th International Congress of Criminology in Hamburg, September
1993 ‘An endeavour to define Victimology’, in S.P. Singh Makkar
& P. Friday (Eds.) Global Perspectives in Victimology,
ABS Publications, Jalandhar, India, pp19-37.
F., 1994 ‘Victimology - History and Basic Concepts’, in G. F.
Kirchhoff, E. Kosovski & H. J. Schneider (Eds) International
Debates of Victimology, WSV Publishing, Monchengladbach,
1992 ‘The scope of Victimology and Victimisation: Towards a
conceptualisation of the field’, in S. Ben David & G. F.
Kirchhoff (Eds) International Faces of Victimology, WSV
Publishing, Monchengladbach, pp43-51.
Landau, S. F. &
Freeman-Longo, R. E. 1990 ‘Classifying Victims: a proposed
multidimensional victimological typology’, International
Review of Victimology, 1(3), pp267-286.
1992 ‘Who may be called a victim?’, Journal of the
Australasian Society of Victimology, 1(3), pp15-23.
Sellin, T. &
Wolfgang, M.E., 1964 The measurement of delinquency,
John Wiley & Sons, New York, USA.
Israel, M., O’Connell, M. & Sarre, R. (Eds.), 1996
International Victimology: Selected papers from the 9th
International Symposium on Victimology, Australian Institute
of Criminology, Canberra.