Author Archives: gracecham

What are Victim Surveys? – Grace Cham

Victim surveys are when random samples from the population are asked whether they have been victims in crime during a specific period of time.  The difference between victim surveys and self-report studies is that in victim surveys people are asked questions on if they have been victims of crime, whereas in self-report studies, they are asked if they have committed the crime.  There are three types of victimizationImage surveys.  These are;

  • National Surveys – This is when a whole country is asked to give their information on crimes that they may have been involved with.
  • Area or neighborhood surveys – This is when a small city or neighborhood is surveyed. 
  • International crime victim survey – This is when a number of countries are compared in terms of crime

An example of a national victim survey is the Crime Survey for England and Wales.  This survey measures the crime for England and Wales by asking around 50,000 people aged 16 and over, who live in private housing about any crimes that they may have experienced in the last year.  The survey is often compared to the National Crime Victimisation Survey in the United States of America. 


A strength of a victim survey is that the answers can remain anonymous.  This means that people are more likely to be honest when answering the questions and less likely to provide biased answers. 

Another strength of victim surveys is that they are practical and as they give qualitative data, they give valid results.  They are also a lot cheaper to do, compared to other methods of gathering data such as interviews. Image


One weakness of victim surveys are that crime is self-reported.  This means not everything is going to be reported, making victim surveys inaccurate. 

Another weakness of victim surveys is that because they provide qualitative data, they can be hard to analyze and compare with other answers. 

A third weakness is that questions cannot be explained if the participant doesn’t understand the question.  This means people may not answer some questions because of not understanding it, this may create a loss of data.