Victim Typology

Victim Typology

Victim Typology.

Victim typology is very central to the understanding of a crime. Knowledge of the victims’ circumstances and the manner in which they behave could provide information on factors that led to committing a particular crime. Sellin and Wolfgang have come up with five distinct victim typologies; Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Mutual and Non victimization.

Primary victimization has a personal element to it. An offender has a particular target in mind for a given crime. The target could either be a single person or group or a multitude of reasons such as differences in race, gender or sexual orientations and preferences. Good examples of this are hate crimes and domestic violence cases. Unlike primary victimization, secondary

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Initiatives carried out by Governments, Corporate organizations and terrorists are good examples of instances of tertiary victimization. In Mutual victimization; criminal offenders target their fellow criminals.

Violence that arises when different gangs fight each other could be seen as a good example of mutual victimization. The final type of victimization is Non victimization.

In this case due to the circumstances that a crime is carried out, one cannot simply identify the victim or the offender. This is because the victim and the offender maybe the same person or entirely different persons.

Having a clear understanding of these different typologies is of key importance, if strides are to be made in understanding how the minds of criminals work and maybe to establish factor leading to crime.


Christie, N. (1986) The ideal victim, in E. Fattah (ed.) From Crime Policy to Victim Policy. Basingstoke: Macmillan

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