Prevention, Victims and Punishment

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  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 13-04-14 21:41

Victimology - how people become victims of C+D

  • two main theories Positivist Victimology and Radical Victimology
  • Positivist Victimology - interested in how some are more likely to become victims than others - either because of their actions or their lifestyle. Approach has been criticised for blaming the victim. Focus on 'visible' crime, such as reported robberies and assaults - criticised for ignoring issues such as state crime
  • Radical Victimology - more left wing. In a structurally unequal capitalist society, poor are more likely to be victims of crime, as a wider pattern of inequality and disadvantage. use the concept of 'human rights' for measuring victimisation rather than using official statistics. Allowed them to focus on state and corporate crimes that go unrecorded.
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facts and figures about victims

  • men almost twice as likely to become victims of violence than women
  • more women are afraid of becoming victims of crime
  • young men aged 16-24 experience the most violence
  • men more likely to experience violence from strangers and acquaintances
  • women more likely to be victims of domestic violence - 0.6% of women, 0.2% of men. People who suffer domestic violence likely to suffer repeat attacks
  • 2002/3 - of mixed race adults, 46% had been victims of crime. 30% of Asian, 27% of black, white and 'chinese and other' adults experienced crime.
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Feminism - women victims due to patriarchal attitu

Feminists say women become victims because of patriarchal attitudes

  • domestic violence is the result of unequal power relationships between men and women. Radical feminists see domestic violence as a form of patriarchal power and control
  • fear of crime is used to constrain women from taking a more active part in social life
  • Stanko(2000) - women have to take care not to be too provocative in their behaviour and appearance
  • Marxist feminists - violence explain by lack of control that men experience in capitalist workplace
  • Feminists believe the law is against women and crimes against women are ignored
  • Heidensohn(2002) - crimes by men against women often go unreported. She refers to this as a 'gendered crime'
  • Feminists have campaigned to widen the definition of what behaviour is criminal. Campaigning for legislation against sexual harassment in the workplace
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3 main approaches to crime prevention

  • structuralists argue crime is caused by inequalities in wealth and income. Only way to address crime is to tackle inequality. Subcultural, Marxist and left realist theoriests all structuralist
  • Individualist/Interactionist argue that groups of people more likely to commit crime than individuals. Best way to prevent crime is to change the behaviour of 'criminal types', by targetting kids from disadvantaged backgrounds. Prison and community sentences seen as interventionist
  • Situational approach says society can use changes to environment to make it harder for people to commit crimes - creating gated communities. Surveillance cameras. improved lighting in street and car parks. zero tolerance policing.
  • Right realists favour the situational approach, advocating 'community minded' areas - social responsibility
  • evidence suggests they don't reduce crime, just move it to a less well-protected area.
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society tries to control C+D through formal/inform

society tries to control C+D through formal/informal sanctions

  • police are formal agent, responsible for enforcing the law
  • Parliament = formal agent, passes laws to say what behaviour is criminal
  • Crown Prosecution Service decides who should be taken to court
  • Prison service imposes any punishment
  • Agents of informal social control = family unit, education system, religion, media
  • police should be impartial, but have been accused of institutional racism and sexism
  • Macpherson report(1999) - Stephen Lawrence case - showed clear signs of racism
  • report by Metropolitan Police Authroity(2004) - found black men four times more likely to be stopped and searched than whites
  • Graef(1989) - police have a 'canteen culture' - most officers, who are white males, adopt racist stereotypes and labels in order to fit in.
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criminals punished for a number of reasons

  • most societies have systems for punishing crimes
  • sociologists have different views on purpose and importance of punishment
  • Functionalists say punishment keeps society going. Durkheim said public punishment of criminals was good for society. It helped create unity and consensus as people came together to condemn the criminal
  • Marxism - punishment keeps the workers under control. Police are used to enforce social control in poorer areas while rich get away with crime, unchallenged
  • Interventionists see prison as a deterrent. Evidence suggests this theory does not work in practice
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Labour/Cons have different attitudes to crime

  • Labour favour structuralist approach to crime. They aim to reduce inequalities, and thus crime.
  • Conservative party favours individual and situational approaches. 1979-97 Cons. put more police on the streets and more criminals were sent to jail - so many that Britain had the highest imprisonment rate in Europe
  • New Labour(1997) - Tony Blair promised to be "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime". Focused on reducing inequalities of opportunity(by tackling unemployment, poverty and social exclusion), while giving more emphasis to punishment.
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