Victim Surveys are used to find out from people which crimes have been committed against them over a set amount of time. The crimes they claim to have been a victim of can be ones they have reported to the police and ones they haven’t.
Statistics taken from Victim Surveys can be done as a National survey, where a whole country is asked to report the crimes they have been a victim of, or as an Area/Neighborhood survey, which is where the survey is carried out on a smaller scale within one area. 
Strengths of Victim Surveys
- The information given is anonymous, so there are no demand characteristics or the influence of social desirability. Therefore respondents are much more likely to reveal more information and be more honest, which explains why these surveys discover there is up to double the amount of crime reported in the official crime statistics.
- The ‘Dark Figure of Crime’ is usually exposed for crimes such as abuse.
- A large amount of qualitative data can be gathered, meaning the cause and effect is explained by respondents, increasing the validity, and they have the ability to do so in their own words.
- It is a practical way of carrying out research, and is quick and easy to do. It can also be considered cheaper than other research methods such as interviews.
- Quantitative data is also collected, which allows results to easily be interpreted into graphs and charts, and further analysis’s can be given.
Weaknesses of Victim Surveys
- There is usually a low response rate with Victim Surveys, like there is with all self-reports, because people don’t always have time to fill them in or they can’t be bothered.
- The respondents do not have the opportunity to ask about questions they don’t understand, like they would in interviews, so if they don’t understand what they’re being asked their answer could be incorrect/not the type of thing the researcher is looking for.
- Doesn’t allow the ability for the researcher to go into depth with a particular answer from a participant if more information could have been given.
- There is still a chance that participants will not tell the whole truth, because they may be embarrassed by it.
- The qualitative data attained may be difficult to analyse and could be interpreted incorrectly by the researcher, e.g. the results could be affected by researcher bias if they interpret information in a way they would like it to appear.