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The Effects of Crime on Individuals As Victims and Perpetrators


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The Effects of Crime on Individuals As Victims and Perpetrators

  1. 1. The effects of crime on individuals as victims.
  2. 2. Factors involved in the effects of crime • According to Victim Support (charity) how you react to a crime will depend on: – the type of crime – whether you know the person who committed the crime – the support you get (or don't get) from your family, friends, the police and other people you come into contact with – things that have happened to you in the past (because if you've had to deal with difficult events before you may have found ways of coping).
  3. 3. Emotional reactions to crime • In the vast majority (93%) of cases, victims themselves have an emotional reaction to victimisation, while in 25% of cases another adult in the household and, in 8% of cases, a child (aged under 16) have. • The likelihood of having an emotional reaction is fairly similar for each group of offence types - vandalism (66% of instances), personal offences (60%) and household thefts (56%). • However a number of other factors appear to effect emotional reactions to crime: – Incidents perceived as more serious (81% of cases where the seriousness of the incident is rated as seven or above), compared to less serious incidents (53% of cases where the seriousness of the incident is rated as three or below). – Victims who are separated, divorced or widowed (78%), compared to respondents who are single, married or living as married (57%). – Respondents with a total annual household income of less than 10,000 (72%), compared to those with an income of more than 10,000 (61%). – Respondents in socio-economic group 'E' (i.e. unemployed) (75%), compared to those in the other socio-economic groups (59%). – Women (66%), compared to men (54%) (Findings from the Scottish Crime Survey 2000)
  4. 4. Immediate and short term reactions Short-term trauma occurs during or immediately after the crime and lasts for about 3 months (Kilpatrick, 2000) • Few crime victims are anticipating a violent assault as the crime occurs, so most are shocked, surprised, and terrified when it happens. • Crime victims often have feelings of unreality when an assault occurs and think, “This can’t be happening to me.” • People who have been victimized in the past are at greater risk of developing emotional problems than newly victimized individuals. Victims do not “get used to it.” • Many victims of violent crime describe experiencing extremely high levels of physiological anxiety, including rapid heart rate, hyperventilation, and stomach distress. • Crime victims often experience cognitive symptoms of anxiety, including feeling terrified, helpless, guilty, or out of control. (Wasserman et al 2007)
  5. 5. Mid term impact • They are preoccupied with the crime; they think about it a great deal, talk about it, or have flashbacks and bad dreams about it. • They are often concerned about their safety from attack and about the safety of their family members. • They are concerned that other people will not believe them or will think that they were to blame for what happened. • Many victims also experience negative changes in their belief systems and no longer think that the world is a safe place where they can trust other people. • For victims of some crimes, such as child abuse or domestic violence, the trauma occurs many times over a period of weeks, months, or even years. Victims in such cases often experience the compounded traumatic effects of having to always worry about when the next attack will occur. (Wasserman et al 2007)
  6. 6. Long term effects Most people do not suffer any sort of long term harm after being a victim of crime. However if in some cases victim trauma is not addresses the effects can escalate and include: • Major depression. • Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts. • Use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. • Ongoing problems with relationships. • Anxiety disorders. • A changing view of the world as a safe place. • Increased risk of further victimization (Wasserman et al 2007)
  7. 7. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder • Some victims of crime go on to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. The symptoms vary from individual to individual but often include nightmares and flashbacks, sleeping problems, depression, and other physical and mental problems. (Victim Support) • Rates of PTSD are much higher among those who have been victims of violent crime than those who have been victims of other types of traumatic events. For example, one study found that the lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 25.8 percent among crime victims compared to 9.4 percent among victims of other traumatic events. • Victims of crimes that resulted in physical injuries, and who believed they might have been killed or seriously injured during the crime, were much more likely to suffer from PTSD than victims whose crimes did not involve life threat or physical injury (45.2 percent compared to 19 percent). • Rates of PTSD appear to be higher among victims who report crimes to the justice system than among non-reporting victims, probably because these crimes are more serious or more likely to result in injury (Wasserman et al 2007)
  8. 8. Practical effects of crime • 43% of victims said that apart from emotional upset, the crime also caused practical problems • Certain factors lead to a higher percentage experiencing this such as – The age of the victim (45% of those aged 25 and over compared to 32% of those aged 16 to 24). – Sex of the victim (48% of women compared to 38% of men) • The most commonly mentioned problems are – time or inconvenience involved in repairing or replacing items (mentioned in 37% of cases where the incident was said to have caused problems). – inconvenience because of loss or damage to a vehicle or other items (12% in each case) – worry or loss of sleep (10%). (Scottish Crime Survey 2000)
  9. 9. Financial/economic effects of crime Crime can have a considerable economic impact on victims and the effects include • Medication and prescription drugs • Physical therapy • Job retraining • Mental health counselling and therapy • Loss of wages due to incapacitation, rehabilitation, or taking time off from work to repair damage from property crimes, participate in criminal or juvenile justice proceedings, or seek medical or mental health treatment • Crime scene cleanup • Loss of or damage to personal property • Costs of replacing locks and changing security devices • Child and elder care • Fees incurred in changing banking or credit card accounts • Higher insurance premiums • Relocation expenses • For families of homicide victims, funeral and burial expenses and loss of income (Wasserman et al 2007)
  10. 10. Effects of crime on perpetrator’s children • 150,000 children are affected by a parent’s imprisonment every year • 55% of female prisoners have children under the age of 16 and 1/3 have children under five • The effect on children is “like a sudden bereavement” (Lucy Gamble, director of Action for Prisoners’ Families) • Children feel a lack of control as more often than not, their ability to see their parents depend not on their own needs but on their parents behaviour • Many get little information about what is actually going and about a third don’t even know their parent is in prison (Toby Stewart, Pre-school Learning Alliance) • “A lot of children desperately miss the person they’re visiting” (Stewart) • Children are affected to an even greater extend if the mother is the parent in prison (Clare Smith, Edmund Hill Women’s Unit) • Gloucester is the only education authority with a formal guidance policy on the issue
  11. 11. References • %20victims/How%20crime%20can%20affect %20you • /14395/1142 • option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=12 • .pdf •