Crime and deviance: Topic 8C


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  • The CSEW- showed the risk of being a victim of violent crime was 3.2% although there were differences between men and women young men aged 16-24 were most at risk with 13.4% experiencing a violenct crime of some sort in the yea preceeding the interveiw compred with 6.4% of women of the same aged.
  • For both sexes the risk of being a victim of violent crime decreased with age those aged 25-34 5.7% of men and 3.3% of women were victims of violent crime in the previous year. Those aged over 75 proportions fell to 0.3% and 0.2% respectively.
  • The type of violent incident experienced by victims of violent crime also varies by sex. in 2007/8- the number of domestic violence incidents experienced by women was 5 times greter than that of men hwoever men were more likely than women to be a victim of violence from strangers (78% of victims wre men) and violence from aquaintances (58% were men)
  • women more than twice as likely to be worried about violent crime- 21% of women 8% of men. Women aged 16-24 expressing the highest level of worry at 28% women were also more likely than mn to say that fear of crime had an impact on their quality of life- two fiths of women and one third of men reported that fear of crime had a moderate or high impact on their quality of life.
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Left realism: victimisation of the poor

Left relists suggest that official crime surveys have neglected the concentration of crime in the inner city and on deprived council estates.

Islingotn crime survey- carried out by Lea and Young using sympathetic unstructured interveiwing techniqes asking for victims living in inner london about the serious crime such as sexual assalt, domestic violence and racial attacks and found that a full third of all households had been touched by serious crime in the previous 12 monthes. foudn crime shaped peoples lives 1 quarter of all people avoided going out after dark for fear of crime and 28% felt unsafe in their own homes. Over half of women didn't go out after dark for fear of crime.

Zedner- this fear was both realistic in the context of this urban area and rational when the extent of unreported **** is taken into account.

Kinsey- Merseyside crime survey- also found fear of crime is highest among the poor reflecing in the fact they are most at risk. Foundin terms of quantity and impact of crime the poor suffer more than the wealthy from the effects of crime.

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Left realsim victimisation of the poor: Evaluation

  • Local crime surveys often have small samples so are questioned over their representativenes sof the area studied
  • Corporate and white collar crimes of the mc don't apear in local victim srveys
  • "victimless crimes" such as drugtaking don't apear in local victim surveys
  • general wealknesses in victim surveys (topic 9)
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Victimisation of women

  • Smart and Cain- transgresive criminology
  • Transgresion is a good example of the postmod influence on sociology when the traditional boundries of sociology and the categories used to classify issues are abandoned and new fresher ways of thinking are introduceed i.e transgressive criminology may investigate how women face sexust and abusive treatment from men as part of their everyday lives.

Feminist victim surveyFeminist victim surveys have tended to produce a qualitative data on female victims of male crimes most notably domestic violence and sexual attacks in which the main perpertrators are male.

  • Very critical of the strcutured interveiw techniques used by the CSEW noting that in structural interveiws the reasercher takes an active role in asking the questions whilst the interveiwee takes a pssive role as the mere object of the study- interviewers argue this mirrors gender divistions and hierahcies of patriarchal soceity.
  • Grayham- claims questionairs and structures intrveiws give a distorted and invlaid picture of womens experience as they impose the reaserchers cattegories on women and mkae it difficult for them to express their experience arguing that sociologists should use methods that allow the reasercher to understand womens experiences and veiwpoints such as unstructured interviews or observation. A number of feminist victim surveys therefore are aimed to give voice to womens expeirences of crime.
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Victimisation of women 2

  • Dobash and Dobash (1980)- carried out in scotland their two female reaserchers carried out 109 unstructured interveiws with women who had experience of such violence- 42 of hte women were libinh or had been living in a womens refuge finding that 23% of their sample had experienced violence befor ehteir marriage but beleived it would cease once they were married hte other 77% hadn't experienced it, they had experienced mens anger but took it as a signal for how much they cared about them rather than a sign for vioence to come.
  • The first vioent episode constituted of a single blow with little physical injury and often preceeded by an argument ususlly about the husbands possessivness and his wifes reponsibility to him. This episode was usually followed by shock, shame and guilt from both parties. The husband begged for forgivness nd prommised it wouldn't happen again while wives attempted to understand the action in terms of their own behaviour that she had brought it upon herself. Few women responded with physical force.
  • They found such violence 'routine' and 'normal' nd that men felt they had the right to punish or dicipline their wives for being 'bad' women too experienced domestic violence to be a 'normal' part of their marriage and concequently rarely complained or sought medical attention.
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Victimisation of women 3

Walklte- victim surveyy based on unstructured interviews found that many female victims of domestic violecne are unable to leave their partners as the gendered power relationsups that shape and govern womens lives i.e they are less likely to have economic resources and therefore potentional indipendence they have no where else to go (the number of womens refuges in the U.K is declining) they often bleame themselves and threats of further violence nd loosing their children undermines their confidence.

Kelly- reaserch into "survivers" founf that many women were undermined by verbal as well as physical abuse.

Hanmer and Saunders- carried out a series of unstructured interveiws with women living in one randomly selected street in Lees duing the 80's using sympathetic and well trianed female interveiwers finding that 20% of these women had been sexually assalted but hadn't reported the crime against them.

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Evlauation of victimisation of women

  • theres may be interveiwer bias when fems conduct reaserch that may encourage the women to exagerate their victimisation and adopt a wide definition of victimisation that others socs may not accept.
  • Fem socs tend to ignore or downplay the signifigance of the victimisation of men
  • New right theories see an ellement of conflict in reltionships as an intevitable aspect of intimacy.
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Victimisation of young people

Acording to the crime and justice survey of 2003:

  • 35% of young people aged 10-15 had experienced at least 1 personal crime in the past 12 months around the same level as those aged 16-25 (32%) and way above those aged 26-65 (14%)
  • Types of crime young people experienced changed with age, robbery and thefts from the person were less common experinces for instance 10-11 year olds athan 16-17 year olds theft was more common. Differences in the proportion of young people experiencjg assalts weren't statistically significant but were higher than for those over 21.
  • The degree of repeat victimisation for violent offences was particularaly high for young people with 19% of 10-15 year olds experiencing 5 or more incidents in the past 12 months.
  • Offending by young people was the factor most strongly asociated with their being victims of personal crime other underlying risk factores were the pressure of anti social behaviour in their local area, being male and commiting anti social behaviour.
  • No differnce in the level of overall personal crime victimisation between young people in different ethnic groups within spesfic types of crime white young people were more likely to have been victims of assalt than black and minority ethnic young people but less likely to be victims of robbery.
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Reasons why young people are likely to be victims

  • Children are powerless in society and can become victims of violence and abuse at home, its less likely that despite the recent moral panics about child sex abuse this crime is still under reported nd underrecorded.
  • Young people are less likely to be security concious than older peopl
  • Yound people are likely to carry valuable objects such as smart phones or tablets
  • Young people are more lekey to be part of the "nocturnal economy" of cities where drinking may lead to violent encounters and disorderly behaviour
  • Young people are more likely to be involced in gangs and subcultures


It may be that older people are the victims of more cirimes but are unaware or don't report them i.e fraud

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Victims and social policy

  • Restorative juctice- encourges offenders to take responsibility for their actions and is supported by left realists. Offenders are expected to repair the harm htey have done by apoligising to their victims and giving something back to the community.
  • Sherman and strang- studied examples of the use of restorative justice in the U.K and found that the general public had misconceptions about restorative justice seeing it as weak and favouring the offener however their reaserchdiscovered that victims of crime generally favoured it as it reduced their fear of crime and anger toawrds offender.
  • Braithwaite- "reintergrative shaming" involves labelling the act as deviant rather than the person who carried it out and avoids the negative lebelling of the offender as wvil whilst making them aware of the negative impat of their actions n others encouraging the offender to be sorry and ashamed of their actions. The reporce shown by the offender makes it easier for society and the victim to distinguish the offender from the actual offense and to forgive and re admit the wrongdoer back into society. he argues that re offending and crime rates tend to be lower in societies whre reintergrtive rather than disintergrative shaming is the main way of dealing with offenders.
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Evaliation of victims and social policy

Restorative justice attempts to put right the wrong or harm that has been done and highlights the important role of the victim and the trauma they have experienced and attempts to ensure the offender feels some remorse and responsibility.


Evidence suggests that the general public associate restroative justice with rehabilitation ad reform that favour the criminal.

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