Victimology Course

The post-graduate course on Victimology, Victim Assistance, and Criminal Justice has been held each May for more than three decades at the Inter University Centre Dubrovnik. The course brings together approximately 80 international students, and 50 internationally renowned experts from the field of victimology, criminology, and criminal justice. It covers the areas of the Theory and History of Victimology; UN Declarations and Victim Activities; Restorative Justice; Human Trafficking Victims; Victims in Various Criminal Justice Systems; Victimization of Women; Victim Compensation and Restitution; Crisis and Crisis Intervention; Refugees as victims; and much more. The interdisciplinary course provides students from around the world an opportunity to study current victimological issues, while building networks with scholars and fellow students. The instruction of the course is in English. Most years, there are thirty or more countries represented, spanning all regions of the world. The invited resource faculty prepare lectures based on their contemporary research and practices. Course lectures from the 2022 course included content on Missing and Murdered Indigenous People in the U.S., Internally Displaced Victimization by Conflicts in Africa, The War in Ukraine, International War Tribunals, The Quebec’s Special Tribunal for Sexual and Domestic Violence Victims, Family Violence in Israel, and Violence in the Balkans, among others.

City of Dubrovnik

The course was founded in 1984 by Dr. Gerd Ferdinand KirchhoffDr. Paul FridayDr. Paul Zvonimir Šeparović, and Dr. Irvin Waller. Apart from the years in which the course was temporarily relocated to The Netherlands, due to the Croatian War of Independence, it has operated at The Inter University Centre of Dubrovnik, Croatia each May. The course was postponed in 2020 and 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed 2022 and will be celebrating its 37th anniversary from May 15-27, 2023. In 2022 the Balkan Criminology Course, that has been successfully held annually at the IUC in Dubrovnik since 2013, joined forces with the Victimology Course in an effort to create a synergy of criminological, victimological and penological efforts.

The course is currently directed by four faculty members: Dr. Chadley James (California State University, Fresno – lead director and course coordinator), Dr. Dick Andzenge (St. Cloud State University), Dr. Dawn Beichner-Thomas (Illinois State University), and Dr. Anna-Maria Getoš Kalac (University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Law). Dr. Chadley James first participated in the course in 2010 and was invited to join the leadership of the course in 2015. Since taking the lead director role, Dr. James has endeavored to maintain the spirit and atmosphere of this very special course, contributing to the exchange of ideas and the growth of the subject of victimology. Dr. Dawn Beichner-Thomas participated in the post-graduate course as a resource faculty member from 2010 to 2019, when she became a course director. She runs a study abroad course in conjunction with the post-graduate course, in which Illinois State University (ISU) students earn credit hours from ISU. The study abroad students have additional academic requirements, beyond the post-graduate course requirements, and also take day trips to the neighboring countries of Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dr. Andzenge was a student of Dr. Paul Friday and a former Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of Global Studies at St. Cloud State University. Dr. Andzenge brought many students from his university to the program from 1995 until he joined the leadership team in 2003, replacing his mentor and co-founder, Dr. Paul Friday, who stepped down to encourage younger generations to contribute to the growth of the discipline by bringing new insights and leadership to the course. Dr. Getoš Kalac has been regularly involved in the course since 2011 as resource faculty member, before in 2022 being invited to join the course directorship in an effort to further strengthen regional involvement in course teaching and student participation. Thus, her inclusion in the course directorship ensures continuation of Croatian course involvement after the passing away of Dr. Paul Zvonimir Šeparović from Zagreb University’s Faculty of Law, one of the founding members of the course back in 1984.

The Victimology, Victim Assistance, and Criminal Justice course was featured in the American Society of Criminology’s newsletter: The Criminologist (Vol. 48, No. 6, November/December 2022, p. 53). The single page 53 on which the story authored by the course directors Prof. Dr. Dawn Beichner-Thomas (Illinois State University) and Prof. Dr. Chadley James (California State University, Fresno) was published is available here. You can also access the full issue of The Criminologist at Sections published above have been taken from this publication with the permission of the authors.


Dr. Chadley James, California State University, Fresno, USA (, Organizing Director

Dr. Dick D.T. Andzenge, St. Cloud University, USA (

Dr. Dawn Beichner-Thomas, Illinois State University, USA (

Dr. Anna-Maria Getoš Kalac, University of Zagreb – Faculty of Law, Croatia (

Group photo 2024
Group photo 2023