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Criminality and victimization

Migration A–Z


  1. Marion van San

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm151

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

van San, M. 2013. Criminality and victimization. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


The history of victimology goes back over half a century. Von Hentig 1948 is often credited with being the founder of this approach. What is remarkable about his work is that he posited that victims are at least partly to blame for their own victimization. In his view, victims of crimes often deliberately seek out risky situations and are therefore partly responsible for their own victimization. Mendelsohn 1956 also argued that victims sometimes play a role in their own victimization, but whereas Von Hentig stressed the importance of the victims' active behavior, Mendelsohn focused on their carelessness, such as a neglect to take precautionary measures. Critical criminologists (Fattah 1992) have argued against this approach by drawing attention to the victims of the powerful, such as victims of state violence, victims of sexual violence, or employees forced to work under unsafe working conditions (Lissenberg et al. 2001).


  • crimes against humanity;
  • criminal justice;
  • ethnic cleansing;
  • racism;
  • women;
  • violence;
  • repression