Victimization in light of self-compassion: Development towards communal compassion

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9 Scopus citations


The discipline of victimology emerged and continues to develop in response to the need to analyze the phenomenology of victims of crime. In the last decade, a new trend, positive victimology, has emerged; it emphasizes the role of “positive components” in efforts to promote the rehabilitation and recovery of victims. This perspective stresses the role of society and community in acceptance, encouragement, faith, forgiveness, goodness, gratitude, and compassion towards victims. One positive healing concept that has recently been found valuable for victims' well-being is that of self-compassion. The aim of the current paper was to explore the theory of self-compassion, which was first presented by Kristin D. Neff (2003a), as it applies to the lived experience of victimization. A comprehensive review of literature indicated the presence of uncompassionate responses as central in the lived experience of victims. These components include: (a) self-judgment and self-blame; (b) loneliness and alienation; and (c) over-identification and experiential avoidance. Seeing victimization from this perspective can deepen the understanding of victims' needs to increase compassionate and reduce uncompassionate responding. The present exploration also revealed the need, in the case of victimization, to adopt the notion of communal compassion, which expands the focus from self-compassion to compassion in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Communal compassion
  • Positive victimology
  • Self-compassion
  • Victimization


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