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PSF 4551 Principles of Individual and Community Advocacy

Course Description

Explores the response to crime by law enforcement, the court system, social services, and victim advocates. Primarily focuses on advocacy for individuals and the community. Examines domestic violence, crime prevention, delinquency, hate crimes, and substance abuse in terms of best practices from the field.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the progression of our society from a system focused on victims to one focused on criminals
  • Understand the early field of Victimology and the focus of researchers/theorists at that time compared to the focus today
  • Discuss the various ways that we can measure victimization, including the pros and cons of each, and the difficulties that arise from non-reporting
  • Compare and contrast restitution, retribution, and restorative justice
  • Discuss the different varieties of restorative justice and what the research says with regard to these programs
  • Identify incidence/prevalence rates for sexual battery, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, homicide, and sexual harassment. For each type of victim, you will also be able to discuss various theories about why the perpetrators do what they do, and how the system is setup to assist these victims
  • Discuss the progression of victim rights movements and where the courts stand on the topic

Week 1

Lecture: Instructor Introduction
Lecture: Course Introduction
Lecture: The Scope of Victimology


  • Discuss the change from a victim justice system to a criminal justice system
  • Outline the early interest in victim typologies
  • Summarize the research of some of the fathers in the field of victim research
  • Provide an overview of the field
  • Discuss the Victim Movement

Week 2

Lecture: Gauging the Extent of Criminal Victimization


  • Describe the three major data sources for measuring crime
  • Discuss the UCR, its use, its categories, and its limitations
  • Discuss NIBRS, its advantages, and its disadvantages
  • Identify problems with victimization surveys
  • Outline the progression of victimization surveys through their various generations
  • Discuss the NCVS and compare it to the UCR
  • Understand the concept of repeat victimization
Lecture: The Costs of Being a Victim


  • Understand why some crimes may go unreported
  • Relay what is meant by the “second insult”
  • List different types of services available to victims and discuss how these services came into being
  • Understand compassion fatigue and who it may affect
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of victim-witness projects
  • Address the criticism that witness management is simply a tool with which to manipulate victims

Week 3

Lecture: Remedying the Plight of the Victim


  • Understand what restitution is and the rationale behind it
  • Evaluate the impact of restitution
  • Explore the ramifications of net-widening
  • Understand the benefits and limitations of civil litigation
  • Explain what victim compensation entails and its history
  • Know what acts are compensable
  • Discuss whether victim compensation works
  • Distinguish macro-level from micro-level effects

Week 4

Lecture: Restorative Justice


  • Define and discuss dispute resolution programs
  • Compare and contrast restorative justice with retributive justice
  • Provide a brief history of restorative justice and discuss the forms it may take
  • Discuss the six aims of any restorative justice program
  • Compare and contrast victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, and circle sentencing
  • Discuss the impact of restorative justice in terms of participant satisfaction and compliance
  • Outline the impact of restorative justice on recidivism and discuss problems with the programs

Week 5

Lecture: Sexual Battery


  • Discuss the history of sexual battery and rape laws
  • Differentiate between acquaintance rape and stranger rape
  • Compare and contrast the UCR and NCVS statistics regarding rape and discuss their shortcomings
  • Draw a distinction between the incidence and prevalence of sexual battery
  • Discuss the National Violence Against Women Survey
  • Discuss the physiological and psychopathological theories of rape
  • Understand the crisis reaction repair cycle and rape trauma syndrome
  • Evaluate sexual battery reforms and the system’s response to sexual battery cases
Lecture: Intimate Partner Violence


  • Understand the historical trends in intimate partner violence and how it has been treated by law
  • List shortcomings in how intimate partner violence may be measured
  • Understand the Battered Woman Syndrome and the Power and Control Wheel
  • Assess the options available to police on domestic disturbance calls
  • Summarize the Minneapolis Experiment, including its criticisms
  • Explore the prosecutorial response to intimate partner violence
  • Define and discuss types of stalkers, and issues of anti-stalking legislation

Week 6

Lecture: Child Maltreatment


  • Explain the difference between abuse and neglect
  • Talk about how child maltreatment was discovered
  • Outline the provisions in child maltreatment laws
  • Discuss the intention behind a central register
  • Compare and contrast theories of why child maltreatment takes place
  • Discuss the “cycle of violence” as it pertains to child maltreatment
  • Discuss coping strategies
Lecture: Child Maltreatment and the Courts


  • Discuss reasons why children may fail to report abuse
  • Discuss how law enforcement and the courts have adapted to children in the system
  • Talk about the four arenas that a child sex abuse case may be handled in and how they differ
  • Discuss problems with children’s memory and suggestibility
  • Discuss how sex offender laws are related to child safety concerns and the concept of children as sex offenders

Week 7

Lecture: Homicide and Hate Crimes


  • Define “hate crimes” and understand the history of hate crime legislation
  • Discuss the Matthew Shepard Act
  • Assemble a picture of homicide victimization based on UCR data
  • Give some insight behind lifetime murder victimization rates
  • Distinguish between primary and non-primary homicides
  • Discuss the “regional culture of violence” thesis and challenges to this idea
  • Offer an explanation as to how medical resources could affect homicide statistics
  • Discuss homicide survivor patterns

Week 8

Lecture: Victimization at Work and School


  • Use routine activities theory to explain victimization at work and school
  • Explain the many meanings and types of workplace violence
  • Discuss the extent of victimization and what workers are most at risk
  • Specify key elements of a workplace violence prevention program
  • Identify and explain different bases for employees to claim employer negligence
  • Highlight different ways schools respond to violence
  • Define sexual harassment and discuss its extent
Lecture: Victim Rights


  • Explain the constitutional changes proposed by the President’s Task Force and their pros and cons
  • Discuss the federal crime victims' “Bill of Rights”
  • Explore some of the guarantees extended to crime victims
  • Discuss victim impact statements and their effect
  • Outline case developments regarding federal Supreme Court rulings about victim impact statements

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. May 2012