Victimization: Definition and Meaning

Despite the tendency of earlier victimization studies to be segmented, a more integrated approach is required due to the frequent comorbidity between the many forms of victimization as well as the related psychiatric problems. Among the main psychological problems that are present in all forms of victimization are the harm done to one's self and interpersonal connections. Trauma does not always include victimization, despite the fact that it frequently does.

Meaning of Victimization

The act or process of harming or troubling someone by another person is known as victimization. Damage from the incident may be psychological (such as posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression), or/and bodily injury (bruises, fractured bones, etc.). Victimization is a frequent occurrence that takes place in an interpersonal setting, frequently involving a misuse of authority, such as when a parent mistreats a child, an adult child mistreats a weakened, old parent, or a teacher mistreats a student sexually.

Workplace Victimization

Workplace discrimination includes victimization. It occurs when someone treats you unfairly because you have reported an incidence of prejudice. In order to encourage people to report instances of prejudice without hesitation, the Equality Act of 2010 contains protection against victimization. Whether or not they have a protected feature, a person who reports discrimination may suffer victimization.

Peer Victimization

When children encounter peer victimization, they become the focus of the hostile behavior of other kids who are not their siblings and are not necessarily their age.

Secondary Victimization

Additional victimization that occurs as a result of the initial victimization is referred to as secondary victimization, also known as post crime victimization or double victimization. Inappropriate post-assault behavior or language by medical workers or other organizations the victim interacts with, for instance, may worsen the victim's suffering. When victims first enter the criminal justice system, they may also suffer secondary victimization at the hands of system employees. To the point where their frustration and confusion turn to apathy and a declining willingness to continue participating in system proceedings, victims will lose time, suffer income reductions, frequently be ignored by bailiffs and other courthouse staff, and go without knowing about updates in the case, such as hearing postponements.


If a person falls into this group, it means that he or she has engaged in behavior that led to their own victimization. To a certain extent, we can argue that this behavior can only be considered recurrent victimization if it stems from the wrong company, an undesirable habit, etc.

Indications of Victimization

Victimization symptoms can include adverse physical, psychological, or behavioral effects that are a direct or indirect result of victimization events (see the section on physical symptoms for more information). These groups of symptoms can occasionally overlap, be strongly related to, or even cause one another. A specific psychological result, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, may include behavioral symptoms like an increase in aggression or irritability. Most studies on the signs of victimization are cross-sectional, meaning they only gather data once. This indicates, from a scientific standpoint, that the symptoms are connected to victimization, however the causal connection is not always shown, and other possibilities have not been ruled out. Some of the symptoms mentioned may also make people more vulnerable to victimization.

Ways For Handling Victimization

You have a number of choices if you're being victimized at work, including −

  • Approach the person exhibiting the behavior to resolve the issue internally.

  • Send a letter of complaint about the victimization to your employer.

  • To discuss alternatives for a non-formal resolution, get in touch with Acas.

  • Consult a lawyer.

Moderating Factors

A moderator is an element that alters how a scenario will turn out in psychology. When it comes to victimization, it can take the form of environmental or contextual factors, reactions from others after the victimization has occurred, or internal reactions to or perspectives on the experience from the victim.


When someone attributes something to someone or something else, they are pointing the finger at that person or thing. Depending on whether they believe the victimization was their fault, the victimizer's fault, or some other external element, a person may react differently to being victimized and display distinct symptoms. A person's perception of a situation's stability or controllability affects how they attribute it.

It has been demonstrated that characterological self-blame for victimization, which is the belief that something is one's fault, that it is a stable characteristic about themselves, and that it is out of one's control, makes victims feel particularly helpless and has a negative impact on psychological outcomes. Although self-blaming attributions may have negative moderating effects on victimization symptoms for those who are already predisposed to self-blame, it is important to keep in mind that, for some people, victimization itself may be the cause of self-blame (see the section on PTSD).

Coping And Help-Seeking

Victimized people who engage in active modes of coping post-victimization report fewer or milder psychological symptoms. Asking for assistance from others is one method of active coping. Help-seeking can be informal (such as asking friends or relatives for assistance) or official (such as reporting victimization to the police). When deciding whether to seek treatment or from whom, an individual may consider their victimization history. For instance, a recent study found that kids who are being bullied by their peers are less likely to ask for help from friends or teachers if they attribute the bullying to a collective trait like race and more likely to ask for help if they attribute the bullying to more specific personal traits.

In a similar vein, adult victims who place the blame on themselves and feel humiliated by their treatment may want to keep the incident a secret, making them less likely to seek assistance. In addition to different societal expectations for males and the shame and stigmatization that both men and women face as a result of victimization, gender may also have an impact on readiness to seek treatment. Males who have been victimized may be less ready to share this information and ask for help because of these differences in societal expectations.


Victimology is the science that studies victimization and the victim-offender relationship. It is exceedingly challenging to protect the victim from the perpetrator when there is a direct relationship between the offender and the victim, and in my opinion, this is the only factor contributing to our nation's extremely low conviction rate. There are several nations with active victim protection programs, and the outcomes are excellent since there is no chance of temporizing either the victim or the witness. Only the victim can testify in court if they feel secure. It is quite difficult to work when the victim can be simply approached by the perpetrator, even when authorities are not properly taking note of this issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Define the term Dehumanization?

Ans. Dehumanization is the rejection of another person's complete humanity as well as the cruelty and suffering that go along with it. It is viewed and treated as though other people lack the mental abilities that are typically attributed to humans, according to a practical definition. According to this definition, dehumanization is any action or idea that sees a person as "less than" human.

Q2. What do you mean by Depersonalization?

Ans. Depersonalization might involve being detached from oneself, from one's intellect or body, or from oneself as an observer. Subjects believe that they have changed and that the world has become hazy, surreal, less substantial, or otherwise outside of reality. It is characterized by the sensation of being "on autopilot" and the suppression or hindrance of one's sense of identity or self.

Q3. What is Demonization?

Ans. Demonization, also known as demonization, is the portrayal of polytheistic deities by other religions—usually monotheistic and henotheistic ones—as malevolent, deceitful devils. Since then, the phrase has been used to describe any classification of people, organizations, or political entities as evil.

Updated on: 11-May-2023


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