Sociology Crime and Deviance Victims

The victims of crime

A few notes for unit 4

  • Created by: Cookie
  • Created on: 02-06-12 22:12


A person who suffers physical, mental or psychological harm, economic loss or impairment of their rights.

CHRISTIE--> Victim is a concept like crime that is 'socially constructed' , stereotypical view of 'ideal victim' is held by the media and public which is a weak blameless individual.

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Positivist Victimology

Focuses in interpersonal crimes of violence. Tries to identity why certain people are victims of crime.

Victim proneness--> Psychological characteristics that makes people more vulnerable than non-victims, e.g. less intelligent. (However, this ignores wider structural factors, such as, poverty and patriarchy).

Victim precipitation--> Wolfgang's study of 588 homocides found that 26% involved the victim triggering the events leading to murder (being the first to use violence)

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Critical Victimology

Based on Marxism and Feminism, it highlights the structural factors like poverty or patriarchy, which put the powerless at greater risk of being a victim.

Failure to label--> They are interested in the way the state has the power to attach or deny a label as a victim. For example: if the police decide not to press charges then you are denied the status of victim and any compensation.

However: while it highlights the role of the powerful it denies the role victims themselves have in their own victimisation.

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Patterns of victimisation

Age--> Younger people are most at risk of crimes, like assualt, theft, sexual harrassment. Infants under one are at most risk of being murdered.

Ethnicity-->Minority ethnic groups are most at risk of all crimes, sometimes due to racially motivated crime.

Class--> Poorest most likely to be victims of all crimes. Homeless are  Example: in areas with high unemployment, crime is highest.

Gender--> Males at greater risk of violent attacks especially by strangers. 70% of homocide victims are male.

Repeat victimisation--> 4% of population are victims of 44% of all crimes. Less powerful groups are more likely to be repeat victims.

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Impact of victimisation

Research has found that a variety of effects, such as, disrupted sleep , feelings of helplessness, increased security conciousness and difficulties in socialisng.

Crime can create 'indirect' victims, e.g. friends, witnesses.

Fear--> the media has a large part to play when stirring up fear (moral panic). Women more afraid to go out at night for fear of attack, yet young men are more likely to be victims of violence.

Evaluation--> Feminists: focuses on womens passivity when we should focus on their safety-the structural threat of patriarchal violence that they face.

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