1) Victimology and criminology are both important fields of study to the criminal justice system. Criminology, defined as the scientific study of the nonlegal aspects of crime and delinquency, including its causes, correction, and prevention (Karmen, n.d.), is the overall study of crime and several hundred years old . Victimology is an interdisciplinary field that derives directly from criminology, and more recently emerged in the second half of the 20th century (Karmen, 2009, pp. 16-18). It is defined as a branch of criminology that scientifically studies the relationship between an injured party and an offender by examining the causes and the nature of the subsequent suffering (Mannheim & Bernard, n.d.).
Both, victimology and criminology strongly emphasize the proper methods of collecting and interpreting data, utilizing tools such as case studies, surveys and polls based on questionnaires and interviews, and meticulously designed social experiments. Another commonality of both fields is how they draw conclusions about crime. Calculating statistics, computing rates, compiling profiles, drawing graphs, are utilized by both fields to identify patterns and trends (Karmen, 2009, p. 16). All of these findings give insight into each of their studies on how the criminal justice system actually works in comparison to how it was designed to work according to the law in the books (Karmen, 2009, p. 18)
While both of these important fields focus on understanding crime, they have a different scope and aim. Criminology’s central matter is understanding the criminal’s motives and the underlying causes of crime (“Victimology: Entering the Mind”, n.d.). Studies specifically focus on why certain individuals become involved in illegal activity, while others remain law abiding citizens. Criminologists investigate beyond the surface crime to explore other factors that generate criminal activity such as social, economic, and political conditions of offenders environments (Karmen, 2009, p. 16).
Victimology’s central matter is helping victims heal after a crime (“Victimology: Entering the Mind”, n.d.). The impact of the injuries, and losses endured by victims, and how they are handled by various officials and agencies within the criminal justice system are major contributing factors to the study of victimology. Understanding why those particular individuals were targeted and became victims, will help to better serve, rehabilitate, and lessen the chances of them experiencing further trouble by educating them on how to avoid more trouble (Karmen, 2009, p. 2). Analyzing personality traits, agents of socialization, and cultural imperatives all play a role in determining the composition of a ‘victim’ (Karmen, 2009, p. 16).
2). Criminologists and Victimologists place a great emphasis on following the proper ways of gathering and interpreting data. They both rely on the same methods used by all social scientists; case studies, surveys and polls based on questionnaires and interviews, carefully designed social experiments, content analyses of various forms of communication, etc. (Karmen, 2020).
Both calculate statistics, compute rates, compile profiles, draw graphs and search for patterns and trends. They both study the criminal justice system is supposed to work according to agency regulations, official roles, federal and state legislation, court decisions and politicians promises (Karmen, 2020).
“Though both victimology and criminology are vital in the criminal justice field, they are different from one another both in aim and scope. Victimology focuses on helping victims heal after a crime, while criminology aims to understand the criminal’s motives and the underlying causes of crime”.
They examine the social, economic, and political causes that lead to crime, they use the scientific method to gather data, they apply their findings to the development of crime prevention strategies and they determine the types of crimes or victimization their discipline should study right.