Focus at Four: New victim studies department at Sam Houston State University

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HUNTSVILLE, Tex. (KBTX) - Sam Houston State University will be the first school in the nation with a Department of Victim Studies.

Victim studies is an emerging field of study in criminal justice. The field seeks to make highly skilled workers adept in victim services and victims' rights advocacy.

In the 1980's experts and scholars in the field of criminal justice were encouraged by victim's rights advocacy groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) to consider the victims rather than focusing solely on prosecuting the perpetrators. Fast forward to today: victim studies is rapidly expanding to assist investigators and prosecutors in creating a more comprehensive criminal justice system.

Sam Houston State University plans to be a leader in this new field.

"We've historically done what needed to be done to make our communities safer and improve the quality of life," Dean Phillip Lyons explains.

"If there's a gap or an emerging area of concern, then we typically do what we can to step in and fill that as soon as possible."

For the complete story of the innovative new department, watch the entire interview in the video player above.