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Short Learning Programme
Victimology: A psychosocial-legal perspective
Social workers, psychologists, educators, lawyers, health care workers and professionals in criminal justice work closely with the field of victimology. However, their study curriculum does not appropriately deal with the field of victimology. Victimology is a unique field and subject matter that require special attention and training to gain the necessary insight. Victimology is the scientific study of the effects of crime and the relationship between victims and offenders. Victimology examines victim patterns and tendencies; studies how victims interact with the police and the legal system; and examines how factors of class, race, and sexual orientation affect the perception of the victim by different constituents, including the public, the court system, and the media. Victimology as a discipline includes research related to many different types of victims, including victims of rape and sexual assault, intimate partner violence, robbery, burglary, child abuse, elder abuse, and human trafficking, among others (Hilinski-Rosick and Lee, 2018)1. There is a definite need for many professionals from different fields to obtain an understanding of victimology to empower them with knowledge in working with their specific case matters. Doerner and Lab (2017)2 explain the role of victims throughout history has shifted a number of times. The earliest codified laws, including the Code of Hummurabi and the Law of Moses, focussed on a system of lex talionis, where the victim was responsible for seeing their own justice. The system changed over time and the law developed. Victimology and victim assistance are a fast and developing field. It is essential in working with victim-offenders to understand victimology and victim’s issues (Hargovan, 2014)3. This course will provide professionals with an understanding of victimology. They can apply this new knowledge to multiple areas of the criminal justice system, the education system, human resource departments, social justice system

Purpose of the course:

This short learning program aims to introduce participants to the field of victimology and related topics to enable them to rectify the imbalance in the victimology-offender field by focusing on victims of crime. The course will present students with an introductory analysis of the field of victimology. Several victim-related issues will be canvassed in this course, including a discussion of the history of victimology as a field of study and the rise of the victim movement; the prevalence and extent of criminal victimisation; the consequences of victimisation; the interaction between the victim and the criminal justice system; the victimisation of particular groups; and theories of victimisation. Also covered will be programs that recognise the victim's rights and needs in the criminal justice system.

Admission requirements:

Admission requirements: 
Prior knowledge in social work, psychology, law, education, health sciences or related professional fields. 2 years’ experience in a field related to the study topic. Baseline knowledge of crisis intervention. Initial Interview to establish base line knowledge.
Learning assumed to be in place: 
Prior learning related to the study field. English language proficiency and computer literacies to master online learning. NQF level 7 competencies

Course outcomes and assessment criteria :

Course outcomes and the associated assessment criteria: 

Study Unit


Assessment Criteria

  After completion of this course, participants will: Participant will be assessed on the following criteria:

On completion of the CED offering, the student should be able to demonstrate:-

Integrated knowledge of and engagement in victimology and develop a critical understanding to the application of victimology theories, research, methodologies, techniques relevant to the victim’s experiences as structured by gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, and intersectionality

- Review the emergence of victimology as a discipline;

- Critically evaluate and apply theories of victimology in a relevant practice context;

- Dissect the relationship between victims, society, and the social and criminal justice system;

- Hypothesise about the lived experiences of the victim;

- Provide an overview of the role that gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, and intersectionality play in victimology.


On completion of the CED offering, the student should be able to demonstrate:-

An advanced ability to analyse, select and effectively apply knowledge on the victim's experiences of the victimisation, and to specify the specific needs of a victim

- Question who counts as a victim and examine what counts as victimhood and measure the boundaries of the victimological imagination;

- Recognise a victim’s needs and elaborate on the importance of meeting the victim’s needs.


On completion of the CED offering, the student should be able to demonstrate:-

The ability to identify, demarcate, analyse, critically reflect on an effectively address complex issues related to gender and gender-based experiences of victimhood, as well as the victimisation of especially vulnerable populations such children and apply proven solutions with theory driven arguments.

- Determine and provide an on outlining vulnerable population groups;

- Determine the lived experiences of diverse population groups and their relationship with victimisation, in specific vulnerable groups


On completion of the CED offering, the student should be able to demonstrate:- The ability to select, apply, and critically judge the effectiveness of the implementation of a range of appropriate techniques to define and critically analyze crimes against the person and review crimes committed against victims

- Evaluate and comment of specific sexual crimes and intimate partner violence and develop strategies to address such crimes;

- Review hate crimes and evaluate strategies to mitigate hate crimes from a post-modernist victimology perspective;

- Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of human trafficking and debate perspectives on sexual exploitation.


On completion of the CED offering, the student should be able to demonstrate:-

The ability to use a range of advanced and specialised skill to reflect on the problems and possibilities of formulating policy responses in the light of the changing appreciation of the nature and extent of victimhood.

- Analyse and debate theories and controversies invictimology;

- Examine and explain victimology theory relevant to your work environment.


The course will be spread over 8 study units. For each unit, the student will spend 6 hours (3 hours for online contact sessions and 3 hours for academic reading). Units to be completed in 48 hours. 15 hours are allocated to complete Assessment 1. 25 hours are allocated to complete Assessment 2. Assessments to be completed in 40 hours.

Additional information

Target group: 
Social workers, psychologists, and legal practitioners, educators, human resource practitioners, health care practitioners (nurses and doctors), post-graduate students with an interest in victimology
6 Months
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