The field of victimology began as a branch of criminal justice studies focusing on the victims of crimes, with particular attention to identifying characteristics of people who became victims and the effects on an individual of being victimized.

However, the current definition of the field is much broader, so a victim is defined as anyone who suffers harm, while the effect of victimization has been broadened to include the consequences of being a member of a vulnerable group (even if a particular individual has no suffered harm).

Victimology in the context of disaster relief focuses on which individuals are most likely to be victims in a disaster, whether natural (such as the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti) or human-made (such as industrial accidents like the 1984 disaster at ...

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