​Human agency revisited: the paradoxical experiences of victims of crime

Author(s) Kenney, J. Scott
Title Human agency revisited: the paradoxical experiences of victims of crime
Source International Review of Victimology, Nov 2014, Vol. 11, No. 2-3, pp. 225-257
Date 2014
Document type Journal article
CoverageCanada
Summary In this article the author reframes victimology in terms of the interplay between victims' social and institutional interactions and their agency to cope. Participants in this qualitative study were victims who had experienced the murder of a loved one and the study included 32 individual interviews, 22 respondents to a survey and review of homicide files obtained through the Provincial Criminal Injuries Compensation Board containing information on 145 individuals. The author explored: encounters that increased or decreased their 'upset'; coping information they had available; and coping strategies they used. The victims' dealings in a range of situations including with their family and friends; other victims; counsellors; and legal institutions were also considered. The author concluded that various coping choices and strategies take place in a wider social context which in turn influenced but did not necessarily determine the form of the coping strategies. Participants were found to learn, choose and develop a variety of ways to deal with their loss. The results of this study were found to be in contrast to many of the treatment modalities advocated by therapeutic professionals.
Keywords Family victims; homicide victims; coping strategies; agency; victimisation; grief
Topic Psychological effects and treatment