The cycle of violence, also known as the cycle of abuse, is a theoretical framework that explains the pattern of behaviors by the abuser/aggressor and the victim in a relationship. This relationship may or may not involve marriage. The cycle breaks down into the honeymoon phase, tension-building phase, violence/acute explosion phase. Therefore, violence does not occur randomly but occurs following a pattern. During the honeymoon phase, the relationship does not experience any problems or arguments, but the aggressor may appear loving, passionate, and jealous to convince the victim that he is concerned about her. Also, the aggressor can apologize and promise not to act abusively again. In the tension-building phase, the aggressor makes derogatory remarks, and hypercritical comments towards the victim become extremely moody and withdraw affection. Once the victim sees behavior change, she will avoid family and friends and keep children away from the aggressor. During the explosion/violence phase, the aggressor becomes violent. It is common for the aggressor to hit or throw things towards the victim, rape and assault them. Also, the victim will live in denial and may pretend that violence never happened and it will never happen again.
Victim Precipitation Theory
Victim precipitation theory holds that victims play an active role in the criminal events that harm them either through victim provocation or victim facilitation (Lasky, 2019). It is a criminology theory that criminologists use to define situations where victims initiate their victimization. Also, this theory analyzes how a victim’s interaction with the offender contributes to committing a crime. For example, when victim precipitation theory is applied to rape, victim-precipitated rape happens when the offender interprets the actions of their victim as sexual, hence initiating rape.
Costs Associated with Victims in the CJ System
The severity of victimization can be understood through its costs. These costs are classified into three dimensions: financial losses, physical injuries, and emotional stress. The costs that the victim suffers vary depending on crime severity, consequences of the crimes, and impact on the individual victim. Physical injuries may include cuts, broken bones, and bruises. Emotional stress/cost of the crime are easily quantifiable and can cause stress and depression, fatigue, lack of sleep, and change in appetite. The financial costs entail all the monetary losses the victim sustained because of the crime. Financial costs may include medical bills, productivity loss, and property loss.
Do Victim Witness Statements Help of Hinder Sentencing?
Victims present victim witness statements to the court at the offender’s sentencing. Victims, family members, and victims’ friends contribute in written and verbal victim witness statements. Once the victim has presented victim witness statements, they can assist the magistrate in deciding the kind of sentencing the offender should receive. Sometimes the judge may decide that the sentencing of the offender be based mainly on the pre-sentence report and other specific sentencing guidelines. However, the judge should first take into consideration the opinions of the victim before making a verdict in this case. According to Kunst et al. (2021), victim witness statements allow victims to explain to the judge how the crime affected their life, aiming at bringing emotional recovery. Also, victim witness statements include the financial losses that occurred due to the crime, and it is used to evaluate and approve the financial impact of the crime upon the victim. Therefore, victim witness statements help sentencing.
Kunst, M., de Groot, G., Meester, J., & van Doorn, J. (2021). The impact of victim impact statements on legal decisions in criminal proceedings: A systematic review of the literature across jurisdictions and decision types. Aggression and violent behavior, 56, 101512. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.avb.2020.101512
Lasky, N. V. (2019). Victim precipitation theory. The encyclopedia of women and crime, 1-2. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118929803.ewac0517