Introduction to victimisation studies by Izabela Fornal :)
A victim survey, also known as a victimisation study, is a survey containing questioning about the experience of victimisation and awareness of crimes committed in the area. The most important British victim surveys are British Crime Survey and The Offending, Crime and Justice Survey. OCJS involves questioning about offending but has also included questions that relate to experience of victimisation. British Crime Survey is conducted regularly (every year) with about 47 thousand of people living in private households England and Wales. BCS is administered face-to-face. Participants are asked about their experience of crime, such as anti-social behaviour and more serious offences that were committed or recorded by the police in the period of last 12 months.
Another victimisation study that is conducted in United Kingdom is called Metropolitan Police Service which is required by the Home Office. Police services in England and Wales carry out telephone surveys with victims of certain crime. They interview about 20 thousand of people each year questioning them about their experiences of the MPS.
Strengths of victim surveys:
- Victim surveys provide more valid data and it’s a better reflection of the household and personal crime than police statistics as they cover crimes that are not recorded by the police. Therefore they’re not affected by change in police recording practice.
- Crime surveys usually use nationally representative sample. It provides a measure of long-term trends covering different types of crime and wide population.
- Methodology is consistent over time, thus the studies are reliable.
- Reform introduced in 2009 allowed British Crime Survey to interview children aged 10-15.
Weaknesses of victim surveys:
- British Crime Survey does not cover commercial victimisation such as business thefts and frauds. It also ignores victimisation of people who live in communal establishments and those who are homeless. and This is because the interviewed people live in private households. Other issues that are excluded by BCS are victimless crimes such as possession of drugs and murders.
- Originally, BCS did not cover offences against a person aged under 16, although the Home Office extended this victim survey to cover these offences from January 2009.
- Generally, surveys are very subjective as we need to rely on what participants recall happened in the past.
I have made a video using ‘xtranormal’ website to present a debate about strengths and weaknesses of British Crime Survey.
Assessed on 17/06/13