I entered this class I had a fairly good idea of what to expecWhent. The title speaks for itself. Victim ology is the study of those who have been victimized. As a criminal justice major this is a class that I must take and also a class that I was eager to take. I heard other students speak highly about it. In Law Enforcement an officers main goal should be to do everything in their power to keep the public safe.
As the slogan goes To Protect and Serve. An officer should put the victims or potential victims ahead of all other things. In too many situations the police do not give enough care to the victims. I believe this is the cause of hostility towards the law.
After a person has been victimized, they are feeling very betrayed and unsecure. They need someone there to comfort them and restore safety. If they are brushed off or not handled correctly they will give up hope in the system. When a person is victimized they do not only suffer injuries or loss of property they can also suffer emotional problems.
These problems can effect their families and their performance at the workplace. In many situations the victim Chavanne 2 of a crime is unaware of the services that are available to them to help them deal with their loss. This should not be happening. All victims should be informed of the services that relate to their problems. They should not have to continue suffering after they are victimized.
If a victims case is processed through the Criminal Justice System they may be in for even more trouble. System Participation is known as the Second Insult. The system extracts further costs as soon as people enter into the halls of justice. (Doe rner, pg 55).
Some common problems of system participants are tim loss, reduction in income, and transportation problems. Many victims say that the courthouse experience left them frustrated and confused. These conditions have resulted in a lack of participation on the part of the victims. These problems brought about the Victim- Witness Management Projects.
This began in the mid 1970's. This project was started by the federal government and it provided funding for victim- witness assistance programs. In class we received a handout that referred to the problem of blaming the victim. Law Enforcement workers are taught to never blame the victim. The handout was a short story about a man who had his horse stolen from him. When the people of the town learned of this they placed all blame on the man himself.
They scolded him and ridiculed him for not being responsible. They called him names and the man was Chavanne 3 astonished by what was happening. He asked the people why they blamed him and never mentioned the man who stole the horse. The people had forgot the fact that a crime had been committed and someone had suffered from it. They focused their attention on what the victim could have done to prevent this from happening. In the class we also learned the importance of determining the appropriate punishment for crimes because of the problem of overcrowding in the prison system.
We did an exercise of reading cases and determining what punishment would be suitable. We were told to try to hand out sentences that did not require imprisonment. This was very difficult to do. In order to do this we had to take a few questions into account. Such as the seriousness of the offense, if the criminal poses a danger to society, does the punishment fit the crime, and will the punishment satisfy the community and the victim. This was a group exercise which made it even more difficult.
There were several cases that group members could not agree on. I found it very interesting to hear the different views on certain subjects. These types of exercises helped the students to communicate with each other and it provided excitement in the class. There were also a list of punishments that were to be handed out. These punishments ranged from probation and house arrest to psychological treatment to the death penalty.
While I was doing this exercise I tried to put myself in the shoes of Chavanne 4 the victim and think what would I want the punishment to be if I had been violated. I believe that is the only way to truly hand out a sentence. Many people do not put enough thought into a situation until they are directly involved. One of the cases involved a male who robbed two banks while on parole for a similar offense.
My group handed out the sentence of 1 to 5 years imprisonment. After looking over the questions that would help me determine a sentence I determined that this man was not an extremely dangerous man because he used no force in his actions. He did have a prior record for bank robbery so we decided he would do it again. We thought incarceration was suitable for this offender.
Another case involved a female schoolteacher who sexually abused two male kindergarten students. She had been abused as a child. She did not have a prior record. My group handed out a sentence that included intensive probation supervision and psychological treatment or counseling. In this case we did not feel the offender deserved to be imprisoned.
The fact that she was abused as a child weighed heavily on the group. We agreed that her past experiences had an impact on her actions. We also agreed that since she had no prior record there was a chance that she could be cured through psychological help. The last case I am going to discuss involved a male offender who killed a police officer during a raid on a crack house. He had five prior convictions of possession of crack cocaine. Our group felt strongly that Chavanne 5 this man should receive the death penalty.
This man is definitely a danger to society, he showed no respect at all for the law, and his prior convictions showed that he could not be rehabilitated in jail. This exercise showed me how difficult it is to determine sentences for criminals. I now have a great amount of respect towards the criminal court system. When we saw a case that involved the rape of a woman their was a difference in responses. The females in the class wanted a very serious punishment while the men were more lenient. This goes back to the fact that a person does not care as much about something until it involves them personally.
Rape is one of the most serious crimes and women have every right to be enraged when they hear the cases of women who are raped. We received a handout about a woman who wrote a letter to a judge about her assault. The women explained how she was violated both physically and mentally. She explained that the man who harmed her was not a stranger but a friend. She trusted this person and never expected to be violated in the way she was. She explained that just because this man did not have sex with her that does not mean she was not raped.
She spoke of the problems she had after the incident. Such as migraines, dehydration, an ulcer, and stress related back problems. She explained that in an hour she lost her self- esteem, self- worth, and her pride. She felt guilt, shame, and embarrassment after what had happened Chavanne 6 to her. She advised the judge that the man who did this to her should receive counseling so it does not happen to another women. This woman showed that she is very strong by writing this letter.
She received long- term damage and was feeling very violated. By coming forward with this information she was preventing this type of thing to happen to another woman. There are many situations like this where the woman will not report it to the police. Many women feel to embarrassed to come forward. They get a feeling that they are somewhat at fault.
The victims believe that the police will not believe them and treat them with inferiority. A police officer should show the most compassion for a rape victim. It not only helps the woman deal with her pain but it will encourage other victims to come forward. The class also did an exercise where we were asked to act as a police officer who has been called to the scene of a rape. We were also asked if we thought the officer in the story took the right steps at the call. There were many facts in this case that made the officer suspicious.
When he approached the door a woman came out who he knew was a prostitute. She was not the person who reported the rape but her friend inside was. The officer was told that the woman was not a prostitute but her clothing gave off the impression that she was. She did not appear to be injured and the apartment did not reflect any recent violent activity. She did know the name of her assailant. She Chavanne 7 described him as an acquaintance.
This gave the officer more suspicion that she was a prostitute. The officer told the victim that it would be in her best interest if she did not continue the allegations. He said that a jury would laugh her out of the courtroom. He also told her that it would be a waste of time to go to the hospital for a checkup. The officer tells the known prostitute to make sure that her friend gets payment in advance next time. Two days later the officer finds out that there is a rapist on the loose in the same area of the call.
He raped a ministers wife and matches the description of the man at the earlier call. This officer has made a big mistake. He made an assumption that these women were lying. He should never have told them that it was not worth it to continue the process. This officer was very lazy and did not do his job.
A police officer should care for and provide the best service to anyone that asks for it. He put himself in a situation that could have been avoided. If I were in this situation I would admit my mistake. The testimony of the first victim could help the police in finding the criminal. Every officer should go on each shift with the intention of helping the victims in every way possible. Officers do make a difference while they are on patrol.
If they do everything in their power to help people. It is beneficial for officers to form personal relationships with the victims. Many people look at the police as different Chavanne 8 than them. A personal relationship shows the victims that they are human. Domestic violence is also a very serious subject. There are many households that may seem totally normal but in reality are very dangerous environments.
Victims of domestic violence also tend to keep quiet due to fear of their spouse. They also have the feeling that no one will believe them. These victims have the feeling of imprisonment. 30% of all female homicides are results of domestic violence. Another problem in todays society is the abuse of the elderly.
This act is most likely the least reported of all crimes. Officers must be aware that it can and does happen. These victims look for pleas for help. One in every twenty elderly are abused each year. That is approximately 1.5 million elderly who are harm in some way. The most disturbing fact is that the majority of elderly people who are abused are abused by members of their own family.
This is tough for me to believe. I do not understand how a someone could take advantage of the person who took care of them their entire life. This is the most cowardly act I can think of. Family members force the elderly to give them money and other financial benefits. They threaten the elderly and in most cases the elderly have no choice but to do as they say. This type of crime is not reported very often.
They are told that they will be harmed if they tell anyone of the incident. During one of our sessions we had a Chavanne 9 substitute named Detective Milano. I enjoyed the classes that he filled in for. I feel he challenged the students in the class to think and express their ideas on certain situations. I got the impression immediately that he was very open to confrontation. A few students in the class were very set on their ideas about the police and how they are treated by the police.
I feel he handled this situation very well. Of course it is natural for a police officer to defend his own. He impressed me by the way he spoke to the students. At no point did he show that he felt he was more important than the students. He simply stated his points and stuck by them. There is a misconception that all police officers are close minded and narcissistic.
He proved to me that this is not true. He also told us a story that gave me some doubts about the system. The story was about a murder that took place in a Kentucky Fried Chicken. The man was caught by the police and sent to trial.
Evidence was found of the mans footprint on the store counter. He was also caught on tape talking about the murders. His sister told the police that she recognized his voice. There was also a witness that testified against this man. He was found not guilty. The match of the footprint was only 99% correct.
This makes me think if justice was served in this case. An innocent man was killed while doing his job. He lost his life and his family lost a loved one. They have to live the rest of their Chavanne 10 lives knowing that the man who did this is on the streets and has the opportunity to do it to someone else. All of this because the footprint was 99% correct.
I feel when something like this happens we are all victims. Not to the extent of the family of the man who was murdered. We have been victimized by the system. Another exercise that I found very effective in the class was when six students were asked to act as panel members and one student acted as a judge. Each student was given a handout and was required to act as the person in the handout. This exercise was challenging because it did not allow the panel members to express any personal ideas.
The panel was restricted to following the beliefs of the person in their handout. Each panelist presented their facts from reading the handout. The panelists were then subject to questions from the other panel members, the judge, and the audience. It was difficult to do this while keeping in mind that your answers must be the answers that your subject would have given. It was also difficult for the judge. He was required to read all six cases and ask questions to each one of the members.
I believe this exercise helped the class in many ways. It taught us to always be open minded when looking at a crime. It also helped the class develop better communication skills with each other. I also thought it was very beneficial for the class to deal with the pressure of Chavanne 11 having to answer questions and give reasons for their actions. I hope exercises like this can help me in the future in the field of Law Enforcement. I think learning to work under pressure is a key aspect of becoming a police officer.
For some people it comes naturally but I believe it can be learned and improved through experience. Some of the panel members had a more difficult time than others because they had more controversial cases. All of the members worked hard and handled themselves very well. I hope I can take part in similar exercises in my future classes. We also did an exercise that at first seemed elementary but turned out to be rewarding. When we were given a handout on a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon I did not know what to think.
This exercise was very helpful for the students to associate emotion with victimization. The class was asked to read the handout and identify the feelings that the family had after having their house robbed. Although this was a cartoon it helped the class understand that victimization is not only loss of property or injury. It does much more harm to people when they feel they have lost safety.
Victims are totally unprepared for the devastating problems they are about to face. They try to make sense of the actions that harmed them and ask the question why. Everyone who comes in contact with a victim will have an effect based on the statements they make, the questions they ask, their reaction, and their nonverbal messages. This is why it is very important for Chavanne 12 police officers to show compassion and comfort the victims of a crime in all circumstances. Depending on what type of crime a person suffers the extent of trauma will vary. An officer must know how to deal with each victim in each situation.
In this class we also learned that humor can be utilized as a way to solve your problems. Geo the Clown was a guest in this class and he showed us the importance of laughter in all parts of life. When a person is victimized they get the feeling of loneliness and hopelessness. Humor can give them the feeling that they had before they were victimized. Even if it is for a short period. I am very satisfied with the experience I received from this class.
I learned a great deal on how victims of a crime feel, and how to help them to lead a normal life. I would recommend this class to all students especially those in the criminal justice field. There are many lessons to be learned and applied in Law Enforcement. This class is a great way to do that.