Different types of victims on the basis of different criteria

Information about the types of victims

Different criminologists have given different types of victims on the basis of different criteria. Mendelsohn (quoted by Krishna and Singh, 1982: 48) has given six types of victims according to the degree of their contribution guilt in crime. These are:

(i) Completely innocent victims (e.g. small infants/children who are raped or murdered or kidnapped without their realising what is being done to them);

(ii) Victims with minor guilt (such as pregnant women who go to quacks for abortion and pay for it with their lives);

(iii) Victims as guilty as offenders;

(iv) Victims more guilty than the offenders (such as those who provoke others to commit crime);

(v) The most guilty types of victims who commit offences against others and get harmed or killed themselves (e.g., a rapist who gets killed by his victim who acts in self-defence); and

(vi) Simulating (or pretending) victims (such as paranoids, hysterical and senile persons) who give evidence in the courts in order to obtain sentence against an accused person.

Walter Reckless (1961) has talked of two types of victims: reporting and non-reporting victims.

The latter is one who is unwilling to report because he/she fears reprisals or social consequences of doing so; the former is one who does not bother for the consequences of reporting his victimisation but is rather interested in getting the offender punished or getting some relief for his suffering.

Fattah (1967) has described five types of victims: non-participating, latent, provocative, participating, and false victims.

Wolfgang (1967) has outlined five types of victimisation: (i) primary victimisation, involving personalised or individual victims, (ii) secondary victimisation, where the victim is an impersonal target of the offender (e.g., a thief in a department store, a person travelling without a ticket on a roadways bus, etc.); (iii) tertiary victimisation, which affects the public or the administration of society; (iv) mutual victimisation, which concerns those victims who themselves are offenders in a given mutually consensual act (e.g., adultery); and (v) no victimisation, which is an act of negligible significance where there is no immediately recognisable victim.

Von Hentig (The Criminal and His Victim, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1948) has given four types of victims: (i) victims whose injury may be the price of a greater gain, e.g., in abortion; (ii) victims who bring about the detrimental result partly by their own concurrent effort; e.g., prostitutes; (iii) victims who provoke or instigate the offence, e.g., by challenging the opponent to kill him if he can and in an emotional state of mind, the opponent accepts the challenge and attacks; (iv) victims who desire the injury.

Hentig has further classified the attitudes of victims as: (i) lethargic attitude; (ii) submissive or conniving attitude; (iii) cooperative or contributory attitude, and (iv) provocative or investigative attitude.

Talking of victim typologies, Schafer (1977) has remarked that a victim typology remains a meaningless speculation if it has no guiding application and is not linked to a theoretical model.