SOC 2700 Chapter 4: Victims and Victimization

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9 Aug 2016
January 14th, 2016
Chapter 4: Victims and Victimization – page #91-123:
Key Terms and Definitions:
Victimology the study of the victim’s role in criminal transactions
Cycle of violence the phenomenon of child victims of abuse becoming adult criminals due
to their early abusive experiences
Acquaintance-related crime a crime committed by an offender who has had a prior
relationship with the victim; date rape is such a crime
Stranger-related crime a crime committed by an offender who has had no prior
relationship with the victim, such as most incidents of carjacking
Victimologist a researcher who studies the role of victims in the crime process
Victim precipitation the view that a victim’s behaviour or characteristics, such as verbal
abuse, or openly displaying wealth, can act as the spark that ignites the subsequent offence
Active precipitation the aggressive behaviour of victims, which provokes a reaction
Passive precipitation the view that personal and social characteristics of victims make
them attractive targets for predatory criminals
Aggravating factor a circumstance that makes a crime more serious; for example, racism
makes an assault more serious, resulting in a harsher sentence as a hate crime
Mitigating factor a circumstance that makes a crime less serious; for example, abused
people react more when threatened, which may serve as a defense or may lead to a lighter
Equivalent group hypothesis the view that victims and criminals share similar
characteristics, and their lifestyle exposes them to increased levels of victimization risk
Lifestyle theory the view that the lifestyle of the victim is a factor in the likelihood of a
crime being committed, such as the number of times the victim goes out or the people the
victim associated with
Proximity hypothesis the view that people become crime victims because they live or
work in areas with large criminal populations
Deviant place hypothesis the theory that suggests there are natural areas for crime,
which are poor, densely populated, highly transient neighbourhoods in which commercial and
residential property exist side by side
Routine activities theory the view that crime is a normal function of the routine activities of
modern living; a suitable, unprotected target will be identified as a target by motivated
Predatory crime a violent opportunistic crime, not usually familiar-related, such as stealing
brand-name clothing from strangers
Suitable target according to routine activities theory, a target for crime that is relatively
valuable, easily transportable, and not capably guided
Motivated offenders the potential offenders in a population who exploit opportunities to
commit crime
Victim compensation financial restitution to the victim of crime, usually provided by
provinces and territories and funded by a surcharge levied in criminal cases
Crisis intervention a form of program provided to victims of crime, many of whom are
feeling isolated, vulnerable, and in need of immediate services such as counseling
Target hardening making one’s home and business crime-proof through the installation of
locks, bars, alarms, and other devices
Displacement the effect when heavy law enforcement in one area drives crime to another,
less well-enforced area, thus making policing strategy ineffective overall
Problems of Crime Victims Loss and Suffering:
Being the target or a victim of rape, robbery, or assault can have considerable consequences
Property losses are only a small part of the toll that crime takes on victims productivity
losses due to injury, medical costs, psychological pain, and emotional trauma also take their
This figure does not include the cost of white-collar crime, tax evasion, or stock market
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January 14th, 2016
Crime makes people feel unsafe and decreases their quality of life victims are likely to
suffer serious physical injury, often requiring medical treatment
And the victims’ suffering does not end when the attacker leaves the scene of the crime
they may suffer more victimization at the hands of the justice system
After the criminal incident is over, the victim may suffer stress and anxiety, even when the
physical traumas, financial losses, and justice process have been forgotten
Many victims go through a fundamental life change, viewing the world more suspiciously and
less as a safe, controllable, and meaningful place, becoming more likely to suffer
psychological stress for extended periods
Hate crimes add a new dimension to victimization hate crimes are more likely to involve
excessive violence and greater psychological trauma
The Perception of the Risk of Being a Victim:
The fact that the public overestimates the likelihood of crime, despite contradictory evidence
form their own experience, points to the influence of extraneous factors in the public’s
knowledge of crime people do not rely on their own experience in assessing the likelihood
of being a victim of crime
Disorder and neighbourhood satisfaction have an impact on perceptions of insecurity and
conclude that improving services may reduce fear as much as reducing crime
The public is not very concerned about their personal safety, walking alone after dark, or
being home alone at night the little concern they do express relates to using public
transportation alone after dark
The media likely helps to create a distorted expectation of victimization
It is reassuring that the fear of crime seems to be decreasing, yet we need to be conscious of
how crime can be distorted in the media because it has an effect on demands for police
services, the public’s perception of the courts, and the programs that politicians develop to
prevent and fight crime
Problems of Crime Victims Antisocial Behaviour:
Victims of certain crimes are more likely to commit crimes themselves
The cycle of violence hypothesis is supported by research showing that young males are
more likely to engage in violent behaviour if they were…
1. The target of physical abuse and
2. Exposed to interadult violence
The association between victimization and future behavioural difficulties is not limited to
males; research efforts have found that females exposed to family violence may be even
more likely than their male counterparts to manifest behavioural and adjustment problems as
they mature
Children who witness physical violence in the home is found to relate to both long-term
behavioural problems such as aggression and to emotional problems such as anxiety
The Nature of Victimization:
Victimization Surveys:
In 1982, the first Canadian Urban Victimization Survey (CUVS) was set up to acquire
information on the extent of crime, the impact of victimization, public perception of crime and
the criminal justice system, and public knowledge of crime prevention and compensation
The next victimization survey was conducted in 1988 as part of the General Social Survey
(GSS) a sample of people aged 15 and older were asked about their knowledge of victim
services, their perceived risk of victimization, and the number and kind of accidents and
crimes they had been involved in during the past year
The patterns in victimization surveys are stable and repetitive, indicating that victimization is
not random but rather is a function of personal and ecological factors
The Social Ecology of Victimization:
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The GSS survey data can tell us much about the social and demographic patterns of
victimization where, when, and how it occurs, and whether a victim’s involvement in crime
is random
Victim Characteristics:
The GSS provides information on the background characteristics of the victims of crime,
including gender gender is related to the risk of crime, the fear of crime, and a person’s
sense of control
In 2009, men were more likely to be victims of robbery; women were more likely to be victims
of sexual assault
When men are victims of violent crime, the perpetrator is usually stranger; women are much
more likely to be attacked by a relative than men are
Women account for majority of the victims in stalking
Risk is gendered and affects how women think about going about their everyday activities
because women are more likely to think that crime has increased and to worry about being
victimized, they tend to engage in defensive behaviours, managing their fear of crime by
making decisions on where to walk, where to park, and whom to see
The GSS victimization survey shows that youths face a much greater victimization risk than
do older persons much of that crime is also integrated (within the same age group)
Seniors, who are thought of as being the helpless targets of predatory criminals, are actually
much safer than are young people
Children and youth are disproportionately targeted for sexual and physical assault, often by a
family member
The general pattern is that youths are victimized out of proportion with their percentage of the
Social Status:
The poorest Canadians are most likely to be the victims of crime because they are more
likely to live in areas that are crime-prone inner-city, urban neighbourhoods
The 2009 GSS also reports that Aboriginal people has a higher rate of victimization
compared with non-Aboriginal people for sexual assault, physical assault, theft of property,
and overall violent victimization
Poverty increases the risk of child abuse
Although people living in poverty are more likely to be victims of assault, people who are
wealthy are more likely to be the targets of break and enter, motor vehicle theft, theft of
household property, and vandalism
Although an increasing number of violent crimes are committed by strangers, a surprising
number of violent crime victims are either related to or acquainted with their attackers
The overall violent victimization rate was highest for those who are single compared with
those who are married
Homicide was more likely to be committed by a family member of acquaintance than by a
stranger this same pattern exists for sexual assault, non-sexual assault, criminal
harassment, and abduction
Women in relationships are more likely to experience violence than are men they are 4x
more likely to be killed, 3x more likely to suffer injury, 5x more likely to need medical
attention, and 5x more likely to fear for their lives as a result of the violence
When a spouse is killed, it is usually the woman; and when women kill, it is usually in self-
Repeat Victimization:
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