History and overview

The origins of the WSV are rooted in the works of the early victimologists and the pioneering “First International Symposium on Victimology” organized by Israel Drapkin in Israel in 1973. This symposium provided scholars, practitioners, researchers and students with the first international forum to focus on victimology. Successive International Symposia on Victimology were organized in Boston, USA in 1976, and in Munster in 1979, where the Society was formed, and Hans Joachim Schneider became its first president. Since then the Society has hosted Symposia every three years in all major regions of the world:

  1. 1982 Tokyo/Kyoto
  2. 1985 Zagreb
  3. 1988 Jerusalem
  4. 1991 Rio de Janeiro
  5. 1994 Adelaide
  6. 1997 Amsterdam
  7. 2000 Montreal
  8. 2003 Stellenbosch
  9. 2006 Orlando
  10. 2009 Mito
  11. 2012 Den Hague
  12. 2015 Perth (forthcoming)

The WSV is a member-driven organization, drawing its members from diverse fields including: science, the social sciences, victim assistance, academica, policy making, governance and other specialized areas of expertise. The members of the Society elect the Executive Committee, which governs the Society and acts on behalf of the membership.

The WSV works with intergovernmental organizations, as an active promoter of research and program development on victims, assistance to victims, and victim rights. It pioneered a special United Nations’ charter of victims’ rights, which resulted in the General Assembly Resolution (A/RES/40/34) named the Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. The WSV’s members represent many organizations in the International Scientific and Professional Advisory Council (ISPAC) to the Crime Program at the United Nations, and serve on its Board of Directors. These activities are achieved mainly through the networking of persons concerned with the theory of victimology and the practice of victim support.

As a non-governmental organization with Special Category consultive status with the UN’s ECOSOC the WSV is involved in the United Nations Congresses (held 5 years apart) and Commissions (held annually, except when a Congress is held) on Crime and Criminal Justice (see UNODC). The WSV is also active with the Council of Europe‘s European Forum for Victim Assistance, with the National Organization for Victim Assistance in the USA, with Victim Support in the United Kingdom, and with other national, regional and territorial organizations across the globe.

The WSV maintains many active programs within its membership. Information on WSV events, projects and other activities can be found throughout this site.