Factors affecting perceived criminality: evidence from victims of assault

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Recent research shows that not all assaults described in victimisation surveys are considered to be crimes by the victims. This paper investigates this issue and puts forward findings which have implications for the role surveys play in measuring crime. Using ABS 2005 Personal Safety Survey data, it examines the extent to which surveyed incidents of assault are perceived by victims to be criminal events, aspects of incidents that predict perceptions and any existing variations by sex. Findings show that male victims under 25 years of age are less likely to perceive assault victimisations as crimes, and women were less likely to perceive an event as criminal if the perpetrator is known to them. Incident severity increased the perceived criminality of an incident, but location was predictive of perceptions of criminality for male victims only. The study points to the potential for victimisation surveys to overestimate the extent of violent crime. It is suggested that approaches for reducing violence should acknowledge the importance of victim perceptions, as the way incidents are defined by individuals has a significant bearing on whether they are reported to police and come to the attention of the criminal justice system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-6
    JournalTrends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice
    Issue numberJune 2009
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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