Author Archives: caitlinmcghee

My Victim Survey by Caitlin McGhee



I carried out my Victim Survey on 5 participants taken from Opportunity Sampling in the Library of Richard Taunton Sixth Form College.


After establishing the gender, ethnicity and age of my respondents from questions one, two and three, which are variables it helps to be considered when analysing the results, I then asked the respondents questions about their personal experiences of being a victim of crime, which is what the survey is set to find out.

I found that 60% of respondents have been a victim of crime, these crimes included:

  • Hate Crime
  • Knife Crime
  • Assault
  • Breaking and Entering
  • Theft


I also asked participants approximately how many people they know who have been a victim of crime and found that:



A way to improve my Victim Survey would be to carry it out on more people, in order to get more generalisable and valid results. I also need to ensure the questions I ask are easily understandable and won’t lead the respondent to any confusion when answering them.


Victim Surveys by Caitlin McGheeVictim Surveys are used

Victim Surveys by Caitlin McGhee

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. [1]

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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.

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