Victims, Justice and the Law

Unit code: LCR3004 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
City Queen
Online Real Time


This unit invites students to consider the victim in the criminal justice system and society more broadly. It examines the definition of victim, how we measure victimisation and introduces students to theoretical and at-times controversial concepts in victimology, including the ‘ideal victim’, victim blaming and victim precipitation. Using historical and contemporary case studies, the unit asks students to critically consider how and why the justice system, the media and the community respond to different victims, who qualifies as a victim, and the benefits and challenges of claiming victim status. Students will learn about the history of victim’s rights movements and victim-oriented reforms, and the complex political task of attending to the needs of victims whilst also resisting the lure of populism. The unit will explore the complex relationship between victimisation and offending and how the criminal justice system can amplify and even inflict harm. Alternative ways of achieving procedural justice for victims, for example restorative justice, are examined.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically reflect on the history of victimology, victims movements and the nature and extent of criminal victimisation;
  2. Articulate understanding of the challenges faced by victims, and critically assess responses to ameliorate these;
  3. Interrogate the key debates about victims’ rights in the criminal justice system.

Study as a single unit

This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree.

Learn more about single units of study at VU


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Test
Grade: 20%
Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 50%
Written assignment
Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 30%
Group presentation

Required reading

Readings will be provided via VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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