Victims and the CJ System
The Crime Victim’s Decision Making Process: Note that only a small portion of victims ever
come into contact with the system.
1) Does the victim define what happened to them as a crime and identify them as a
2) How impactful was the distress?
3) What do they do about the distress? The individual can do nothing, seek a private
solution, or seek formal solution through the CJ system.
Reporting to the Police:
Note that a lot of the Victim’s Rights came out of the need of the system for victim’s
cooperation, not necessarily a concern for the victims. The Victim’s Rights are in place to
increase the trust by victims of the system so that more victims will report and
cooperate with prosecution. Focus on offenders lead to the creation of Victim’s Rights.
Reasons that a victim would report to the police- prevent future crime, stop the
offender, to protect others. Reasons that a victim wouldn’t report to the police include-
private personal matter, not important enough, crime not completes, fear of re-
Who reports to the police? Auto theft, 40% of property crimes and 50% of violent
crimes, stranger with a weapon as offender, victim was injured or suffered significant $
loss, females, older, lower income, black.
What do Victims Want? Rehabilitation for the offender, Restitution, and Punishment.
Victims’ Interactions with Police:
Victims’ state of Mind: need assistance, traumatized, powerless and fearful.
Officer’s State of mind: working personality (emotionally detached and neutral), fact-
seeking and need to substantiate the victim’s claims,
(Continued) Victims and the CJ System
(Continued) Interactions with Police: Areas of dissatisfaction for Victims.
Re-victimization. Low clearance rates.
High rate of un-founding (rejecting or not believing a victim’s statement. Note that an
un-founded case does not necessarily mean that it was a false report, it simply means
that there was not enough physical evidence) and de-founding (case is not as serious/ a
lesser offense than the