Editorial Introduction to the Special Issue

Date01 September 2018
Published date01 September 2018
Subject MatterGuest Editorial
Guest Editorial
Editorial Introduction to the
Special Issue: Victimization
and the Life Course
Jillian J. Turanovic
Victimization hasn’t always been a topic of great discussion among criminologists. Although
discourse on crime and criminality can be traced back several centuries (Jeffrey, 1959), despite a
few exceptions (e.g., Mendelsohn, 1956; Schaefer, 1968; von Hentig, 1948; Wolfgang, 1958),
scholarship on victimization did not really take off until the late 1970s. Sparked in part by the
Crime Victims’ Rights Movement, the release of large-scale victimization data (i.e., the National
Crime Survey), and new theoretical developments—namely, lifestyle (Hindelang, Gottfredson, &
Garofalo, 1978) and routine activity (Cohen & Felson, 1979) theories—scholars realized that a lot
could be gained from studying crime from the vantage point of the victim. And even though the
victimization literature is still young by most criminological standards, the past few decades have
seen tremendous growth in victimization scholarship—particularly in the areas of street violence,
child maltreatment, intimate partner abuse, and adolescent victimization.
Subsequently, this research has taught us a lot. For exa mple, we know that victimization is
unevenly distributed among the population, where victimization rates tend to be highest in structu-
rally disadvantaged communities and among people of color. We also know that overall victimiza-
tion rates are highest among young males (although rates of sexual assault and intimate partner
violence are highest among females) and that individuals’ risks of victimization peak during ado-
lescence and decline into adulthood. And we know that victimization often results in many negative
behavioral, health, and social consequences over the life span, especially when it happens during
childhood. Various criminological perspectives have also been modified to account for victimization
and explain some of these patterns, including self-control (Schreck, 1999), general strain (Agnew,
2002), subcultural (Stewart, Schreck, & Simons, 2006), and social disorganization theories (Roun-
tree, Land, & Miethe, 1994).
Yet, despite all that we have learned, there is still a lot that we do not know. Theoretical
advancements have slowed in recent years, and fundamental questions still remain about the causes
and consequences of victimization in society, and how to best intervene and support victims of
crime. For instance, what (if anything) are the causes of victimization? Why do some victims suffer
worse consequences than others? Why is victimization concentrated across time and space? What
can the state do (if anything) to prevent victimization? Can similar interventions work for victims of
different crimes, ages, and backgrounds? Admittedly, there are no easy answers to these questions.
College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA
Corresponding Author:
Jillian J. Turanovic, College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Florida State University, Eppes Hall, 112 S. Copeland Street,
Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.
Email: jturanovic@fsu.edu
Criminal Justice Review
2018, Vol. 43(3) 285-288
ª2018 Georgia State University
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0734016818780992

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