Risk, Victimization and Vulnerability

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 5:40 PM
Room: Booth 52
Oral Presentation
Jane DONOGHUE , Law, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
In this paper, I intend to make a principal original contribution to the risk-based criminological literature by concentrating on risk in the context of victims. Although there now exists a significant body of scholarly work examining the impact and complexity of clinical and actuarial risk assessment methods on criminal justice decision making (see, e.g. Feeley and Simon 1992; 1994; Hudson 2004; Kemshall 1998; 2003; Hannah-Moffat 2005), efforts to construct a strategic knowledge of risk are yet to provide a coherent set of theoretical and conceptual tools that can be used to explain the dynamics of risk both in terms of the ‘risky’ individual, as well as the ‘at-risk’ victim. While the argument developed in this paper relates to empirical developments in England and Wales, the theorizing of victim-oriented approaches to risk management is both innovative and more generally applicable beyond the jurisdiction examined herein.

The theoretical contribution to the risk-based literature that is offered in this paper should be understood as both aligned to, but distinct from, O’Malley’s conceptualization of the potential and limits of risk. For O’Malley (2008; 2010), the promise of risk-based techniques often lies in discovering the disparate possibilities for experimentation, and identifying those sites of resistance that exist within the ‘culture of control’ (Garland 2001). While O’Malley’s account offers particularly interesting insight into how risk functions through proxies of experimentation and resistance, this paper instead focuses on the central importance of a risk-based paradigm in facilitating the ascendancy of victims in constructing notions of victimhood, vulnerability, resilience and in contributing to the development of responses/outcomes and professional praxis.