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The University of Southampton

CRIM3008 Victimology

Module Overview

In this module, students will explore the various ways victims are employed and represented in policy, popular culture and criminal justice. During the module we will address popular discourses of the victim and victim status attribution; fear of crime, risk and neoliberalism, and victims and justice (criminal, procedural and restorative).

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Explain the burgeoning literature around victim-status attribution, and whether constituting a victim is as simple as being on the receiving end of harm.
  • Demonstrate the ways that the media and policy represent victims in order to achieve particular ends
  • Analyse the ways that powerful discourses (e.g. neoliberalism) and social characteristics (class, ethnicity, gender and sexuality) shape the experience of (as well as fear of) victimhood
  • Assess the benefits and drawbacks of different types of justice (criminal, procedural and restorative) for the victim.


The unit is divided into three parts. In the first part we will explore the popular representation of the “ideal victim” (Spalek 2006) and the ways that such a representation is necessarily problematic in terms of self-identification of one’s own victimhood, but also in pursuit of justice as some claims to victimhood are more readily accepted than others. The second part will discuss the role of the victim within neoliberalism, focusing upon the ways that changes in policy have placed greater responsibility on citizens to protect themselves and the culture of victim-blaming that is necessarily the result. This section will also identify how victim-blaming, as well as the fear of victimhood is also distributed differently along social demographic lines. Finally the module will reflect upon recent policy changes within criminal justice that attempt to provide greater power (or at least greater satisfaction) to the victim of crime. This section will compare restorative, procedural and other victim-oriented changes in criminal justice in order to assess to what extent these changes have improved the treatment of victims in criminal justice.

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study150
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Walklate, S. (2007). Handbook of Victims and Victimology. 

Bottoms, A., Roberts, J.V. (2011). Hearing the Victim: Adversarial justice, crime victims and the State. 

Davis, P., Francis, P., Greer, C. (2007). Victims, Crime and Society. 

Spalek, B. (2006). Crime Victims: Theory, Policy and Practice. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Exam  (2 hours) 60%
Written assignment  (1500 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework assignment(s) 100%
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