Sample Notes from the Criminal Profiling Course
Goal of Forensic Victimology
Understanding victim profiles and their specific circumstances
can help with investigations because it enables investigators to
accurately decipher the facts of a case. In doing so, investigators can
get a clearer idea of what the victim has experienced and how it has
affected them e.g., costs, psychological harm, and physical injuries. It
also helps to determine if the victim was a stranger to the offender or
known to them e.g., acquaintance, friend, family member, or intimate
partner. Ultimately, victimology sheds light on the nature of the
offender. The more that is known about the victim, the more that is
known about the crime that was committed and therefore the criminal.
For example, if the victim did not put up a struggle it suggests that
they knew the offender, or they trusted them.
Victimology is particularly useful for solving violent crimes
where the victim is the best evidence investigators have that a crime
was committed. Understanding how the victim and the offender came to
cross paths – regardless of whether the victim survived – is especially
useful knowledge. Victimology narrows down the pool of suspects. It can
help investigators arrive at a motive, which points to suspects, and
eventually an offender. However, profiling is generally used to help
with cases that are difficult to solve where the motive is not very
Victimology can also help with:
- Determining whether reports of victimisation are true or untrue – i.e., whether a crime occurred.
- Figuring out the offender’s modus operandi – how the offender chose their victim.
- Determining an offender’s exposure level – the amount of
identification, discovery, or apprehension they are exposed to e.g., if
the crime occurred in broad daylight this may mean the offender was
careless, or that they were highly skilled.
- Determining a victim’s exposure level – their amount of exposure to loss or harm during a crime.
- Linking cases – a connection between victims or their exposure may help to link cases.
- Reconstructing the crime scene.
- Creating a timeline of the victim’s last known behaviours.
- Working out appropriate public safety measures.
If you would like to learn more about criminal behaviour, legal terminology, criminal investigation and much more to improve your job and career prospects, then this is the course for you.
If you have any questions, our psychology and criminology tutors are more than happy to help, so please ask here.