Victimization, what is it? Victimization is when someone does something to make someone else a victim. Millions of people each year fall to victimization. These individuals don’t ask to become victims; it is forced upon them without choice. Anyone can become a victim not just everyone else but you; you can become a victim too. Just because someone says they are protected; they have pepper spray, a gun, they pay attention to their surroundings, and/or other things to protect themselves. Nothing or no amount of things can always protect someone completely to falling to victimization.
Any crime against someone can make them a victim. It is an endless list of crimes out there that makes people victims every day. In this paper I will be writing about victims, rates of victimization, victimization trauma, coping with victimization, victims’ rights, impact statements, victim advocates, and actions the community can take to help victimizations. Not only adults fall victim to victimization but adolescents do too. In fact they are most likely to be victimized. (National Institute of Justice, 2010) Children and young adults ages 12-24 are victims to violent crime more than any age group in the United States. When a Youth Is Victimized, n. d. )
Youth victims have many different reactions to victimization, not any one child is going to have the same reaction as another. Some of these reactions include but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, nightmares, declined in school performance, withdrawal, mood swings, and aggressive behavior. It is important to talk to youth if these changes are seen in them, they may not be as likely to come forward and say that they have been victimized due to being scared or what not. (When a Youth Is Victimized, n. d. ) It can be hard to talk to youth about being a victim.
There are many reasons why it can be hard for a youth victim to come forward to an adult. A child may feel ashamed about what has happened to them. They feel that others will look down on them and make them feel as though it was their fault that they were victimized. Fear of consequences is a reason youth will not speak up about being victimized. They will think it will just make their situation worse than it already is. Youth may feel that if they tell their parents, adult or law enforcement that the criminal may come back after them or their family. Another reason is the youth may have a need for independence.
Youth like to feel like they can handle problems on their own, they like to feel accomplished by solving a problem on their own. (When a Youth Is Victimized, n. d. ) So, they may decide not to tell and just try to solve the problem on their own, not realizing that in the end many times it will just make things worse, not solve the problem and not fix the mental side effects that come from victimization. These are just a few of the reason why youth may decide not to tell and make it hard on the adults to find out if they were victimized or not. There are three major things adults can do to help youth after they have been victimized.
Recognize what youth need after victimization, offer support, and get any additional help that they may need. (When a Youth Is Victimized, n. d. ) An adult needs to recognize that youth need safety after being victimized. Youth need to feel safe, especially after being victimized to help protect them from further victimization. An adult needs to do what they can to help ensure that the youth feels extra protected. Youth need support knowing that they are not alone, that there are others out there that have been in similar situations they can talk to.
Adult need to provide an environment that does not pressure the youth to tell things that they are not ready to disclose and come forward about. Many things are going to be a gradual process for the youth and the adult needs to support and understand that. Hope is something that youth need to have in order to feel comfortable and supported and like there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. It is an adult’s job to provide this support and make sure that the youth feel like there is hope that they will get through what they are going through and always make them feel as though that light at the end of the tunnel is near.
Support is a must for anyone to get through victimization especially for youth. Youth depend on adults to get this support from. If you see that the youth is trying to tell you something stop what you are doing and listen and be there for them. If they feel like you don’t care or are not interested in what they are trying to say they are no longer going to come to you; that is likely going to cause them to bottle it up and not speak and handle it on their own. When they are speaking it is best no to judge them and make them feel dumb, stupid or like they are wrong for how they feel.
Just listen and be there for them in their time of need. If additional help is needed it is the job of an adult to get the help, don’t make the youth go about this on their own. Calling 911 is an option if it is an emergency or the crime has not yet been reported. But if the crime has been reported and the youth still needs help there are victims’ advocates out there for them to talk about that I will talk about in more detail further in the paper. (When a Youth Is Victimized, n. d. ) The rates of victimization are on the rise. The numbers are astounding.
In 2006, there were 16 million criminal victimizations that happened to individuals over the age of 12, this is according to the National Crime Victimization Survey. (National Institute of Justice, 2010) Of these victimizations 76 percent were involved property and 23 percent were violent leaving 1 percent being purse snatching and pocket picking. The likelihood of males and females being victimized by someone they knew were equally the same. (National Institute of Justice, 2010) In 2011, there were 22. 9 million criminal victimizations that happened to individuals over the age of 12. That is a 43. percent increase of the 16 million in 2006. That is a huge jump in victimizations. 5. 8 million Of the 22. 9 million were violent victimizations and 17. 1 million property victimizations. (Victims and Victimization, n. d. )
Between the year 2010 and 2011, the victimization rate of violent crimes rose by 17 percent. That means per 1,000 people 12 years of age and older between 19. 3 to 22. 5 people became victims. The property crime rate grew by 11 percent between 2010 and 2011. In 2011 males fell to victimization more than females. Only 49 percent of violent victimizations were reported to police in 2011. In 2010, 25. of every 1,000 black non-Hispanics were victims to violent crime, while white non-Hispanics were at 18. 3 of every 1,000. (Victims and Victimization, n. d. )
The rate of victimization is increasing every year with it seeming like it is not going to change any time soon. With only 49 percent of violent victimizations being reported, there is no telling exactly how high many more are added to the millions that are already happening. The only other thing there is to go by is the National Crime Victimization Survey and with it being a survey you have to go by what is put on the survey which is not always truthful.
How victims react to trauma is going to be different and be based on the individual. There is no certain time frame the person will continue to go through trauma. It can last hours up to years. There are two types of trauma: physical and emotional. Physical trauma could be serious injury or shock to the body. There could be external injuries as cuts, bruises or broken bones. A person could also have internal injuries like internal bleeding or injury to organs. Emotional trauma is something that all victims will go through sometimes more apparent than other times.
Victims can go through shock or numbness. When going through this it can be hard for a victim to live day to day, they will feel like they are just there not as though they are actually living life. Denial, disbelief, and anger are traumas that victims can go through. They may deny that this has happened to them, they can’t yet face the painful things that happened so they tend to go into denial mode. A person could become very angry about what has happened and feel a need of revenge against the individual who committed the crime against them.
A victim could have Acute Stress Disorder. This is a disorder similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder commonly known as PTSD. But with this the symptoms last less than a month, once the symptoms have lasted more than a month it becomes PTSD. Some of the symptoms include: flashbacks, anxiety, anger outbursts, trouble concentrating, and memory problems. (How Crime Victims React to Trauma, 2008) For a victim of victimization a person must learn how to cope with what has happened to them. The FBI has some good tips for a victim to use to help cope with the trauma.
It is always good to have someone close to you that you trust to talk to when you need. Allow yourself to feel the pain to help you get past and work through the trauma. Keeping a journal or diary is a good way to get your feelings out and is good especially if you don’t have someone to talk to. Try not to spend a lot of time alone, that gives you time to dwell on the trauma and can make someone feel down and depressed. (FBI, n. d. ) The FBI also gave some tips on what not to do while trying to cope with a trauma. It is not a good idea to use alcohol or drugs during the coping process.
Drugs and alcohol will not fix the problems, in the long run it will make the problems worse and the coping process much harder to get through. Do not bottle up your emotions, bottling them up will only make you want to explode later because the emotions will keep building and building until you can’t hold them in anymore. And lastly, do not blame yourself, being a victim is never the victims fault. A victim does not ask to be victimized so they shouldn’t take the blame for it. (FBI, n. d. ) Where do victims turn to get support after being victimized?
Victim Advocates are available to help and support a victim. They offer information, emotional support, and can help when looking for resources and filling out paperwork. The roles of an advocate can vary depending on where they work, some of their roles could include: providing information to victims, information on the legal rights of a victim, the criminal justice process information, emotional support, safety planning, finding shelter and/or transportation, and notifying victims of an inmates’ release from prison. (What Is a Victim Advocate? , 2008)
During the criminal justice process victims are given the right to give a victim impact statement. These statements are from the victims themselves and can be provided written or orally. Basically the impact statement consists of the victim describing how the crime has personally affected him or her. The purpose of the statement is to give the victim an opportunity that normally would not have been afforded to them.
Victims are not normally called to testify in court. Making this statements tend to make the victim feel better about the criminal justice process. Victim Impact Statements. 2008) Victims’ rights are laws that have been established by all the states and the federal government. These laws allow victims have certain rights such as: information, protection, and will be able to play a role in the criminal justice process. Some basic rights include: the right to be treated with dignity and respect, the right to be informed, the right to have proper protection, the right to apply for compensation, the right to restitution, the right to return of personal property, right to a speedy trial, and the righto enforce those victim rights. Victims’ Rights, n. d. )
There are things that the community can do to help with victimization. A community can also become victims to a crime and want to do things to reach out and help to stop these crimes from happening within the community. There are many things a community can do, but it depends on the crime that has taken place that makes the community decide what course of action to take. The community must come up with a meeting place, come up with financial support, and training the volunteers.
There are many actions the community can take such as: booths and displays, marches, petition drives, and speak-out meetings. (Community Action, 2012) It is good for the community to get involved when there is an outburst of crimes within the community. It helps to get awareness of the problem out there and let the community know that it has to stop and can no longer go on. Victimization is a big problem in the United States. With tens of millions of people getting victimized each year, we as a United States need to stand up and find a way to fight crime and make the victimization rate go down.
Victims go through a lot after being victimized and there is so much help out there for victims to use but I don’t think victims are aware of all the resources out there. If help is not given to the victim as soon as the victimization occurs the trauma can follow the victim for the rest of their life. In this paper I have written about youth victimization, rates of victimization, how victims react to trauma, coping with victimization, victim advocates, victim impact statements, victims’ rights, and community action.
With all these things I have written about, I feel I have learned a lot about what victimization is what victims go through, and how to help a victim after they have been victimized. A victim could one day be a close family member or my best friend and now I have a better understanding of things I could do to help someone close to me get through victimization. With everything I have read I now have resources and tips to help myself get through victimization if I am victimized one day.
Courtney from Study Moose
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