The Praeger Handbook of Victimology
by Janet K. Wilson, Editor
August 2009, 344pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-35935-4
$55, £41, 46€, A79
eBook Available: 978-0-313-35936-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

In 1947, when Beniamin Mendelsohn coined the term “victimology,” the field he was expanding was still caught up in the notion that victims had some responsibility for the acts that harmed them. In the decades since, a more expansive understanding of the relationship between victim and perpetrator has been fleshed out and redefined as an often overlooked aspect of criminal justice studies.

This work is the first interdisciplinary compilation of entries related to the crime victim to encompass the breadth of the 70-year-old discipline of victimology.

The Praeger Handbook of Victimology is the first full-scale reference to encompass the full scope of the discipline of victim studies, marking its evolution from an initial focus on homicide, child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence to a more wide-ranging modern interpretation that includes hate crimes, terrorism, and cyber crimes such as online bullying, stalking, and identity theft.

The Praeger Handbook of Victimology offers an up-to-date portrait of its field, including the latest research from criminal justice studies, feminist studies, and other disciplines, as well as the changing views of the victim from law enforcement and the public at large. The nearly 200 alphabetically organized entries cover everything from terminology unique to the field to victimizations relative to specific crimes to the extension of crime victim rights and victim interactions with the criminal justice system. Victims’ advocates, legal professionals, students, researchers, or anyone fascinated by the impact of crime on society will find this a uniquely informative resource.


  • Includes nearly 200 entries on the development and scope of the 70-year-old field of victimology
  • Over 90 contributors from across the nation, representing 13 academic areas of study, including criminal justice, criminology, gerontology, psychology, sociology, and victim studies
  • Includes a chronology of selected events from 1941 to 2008 reflecting the development of the discipline of victimology and the expansion of rights for victims of crime
  • Offers a bibliography of 17 recently published books that provide a broad look at crime victims and the field of victimology
  • Lists 22 journals that publish research on crime victims and describes 24 websites that provide information ranging from victimization statistics and organizational membership opportunities to victim services and legal remedies
Janet K. Wilson is associate professor of sociology and former chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, AR. Wilson's published works can be found in the American Sociological Review, Sociological Inquiry, and Sex Roles.


"Wilson (sociology, University of Arkansas, Conway, AR) and ninety five other experts have put together this handbook intended both for a general audience and college students but which could also be used as a handy reference by law enforcement officers and social workers. The entries explain different forms of being victimized. Violent crimes are discussed as well as crimes of intimidation, such as cross-burning or threats from corrupt officials. There is a list of important dates in victimology as well as references and websites to help victims find support. Also included are theories as to why some people become criminals or abusers. The entries all emphasize advocacy for and support of victims, who still are often believed to have done something to invite the crime inflicted upon them."—Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2009

"This is a worthwhile reference tool for victims' advocates and legal professionals, but particularly for academics in the areas of criminal justice, criminology, feminist studies, gerontology, psychology, and sociology. Summing Up: Recommended. Professionals/practitioners, and college and university libraries supporting such programs at the beginning undergraduate level and above." —Choice, January 1, 2010
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