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This report will analyse data from Chaplin, Flatley and Smith on the British Crime Survey through a comparison of victimisation statistics within a specific crime type. These violent crime types consist of domestic, acquaintance, stranger and mugging. After looking at these specific types of crime, it will provide an overview on which adult is most likely to be a victim of these types of offences and why.
The Home Office have collected and published national statistics about crime in England and Wales since 1805. Initially, these only included court-based data about proceedings and convictions. From 1857, data about crimes reported to and recorded by the police were added. Despite this long history of reported and recorded crime statistics being used to judge police performance, such statistics have long been recognised as having weaknesses (Smith, 2006).
In 1982 the Home Office conducted the BCS, and it soon became established as an alternative source of crime statistics, complementing those derived from police recording of reported crime. The main purpose of the survey is to measure the extent and nature of criminal victimisation against adults, aged 16 or over, and living in private households in England and Wales. The BCS interviews a sample of 46,000 adults, which provides a means of estimating aspects of household and personal crime. However, its coverage is restricted to 'normal' households and adults, and it does not capture crimes committed against other victims including corporate victims, those under 16 years of age and individual adult victims residing outside 'normal' households such as the homeless (Smith, 2006).
Sparks et al. (1977) identified several reasons why the use of victim surveys are significant. This is because such surveys provide a relatively accurate measure of crime rates and enables them to be used as a 'social barometer'. This also identifies the size of the gap between reported and unreported crime. Furthermore, they can help direct attention to the victims and their experiences which may be ignored otherwise (Cited in Newburn, 2007).
Violence typology by the Home Office (2011):
Domestic violence - includes threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional)
Acquaintance violence - assault and wounding incidents where the victim knew the offender(s) by sight.
Stranger violence - assault and wounding incidents where the victim did not know the offender(s).
Mugging - comprising robbery, attempted robbery, and snatch theft.
Although 16-24 year olds have the highest percentage this is from the lowest unweighted base, the unweighted base represents the number of people/households interviewed in the specified group.
Percentages of this table do not reflect the unweighted base. Among victims of stranger violence, while mixed race respondents show the highest percentage of 4.1% this is from an unweighted base of 350 people. Whilst white victims accounted for only 1.4% but this is from an unweighted base of 42,991 people.
Although separated show the highest percentage for domestic, this is from the lowest sample size of 1,560. After taken into consideration the unweighted base, it shows that those who are single had been more victimised of domestic with a sample size of 9,828.
Again, 3 hours less than 7 hours have an unweighted base of 12,858 whilst 19,903 respondents are out for 7 hours or longer. Taken this into consideration it showed that those who are out the longest are more victimised of all violence.
After looking at the unweighted base it shows that those who did not visit a bar in the last month were more victimised of domestic.
707 respondents visited a nightclub once a week or more often. Taken into account the unweighted base it shows that those who did not visit the nightclub a sample of 42,794 people had the highest amount of victims for all violence.
The table 'All Adults' shows that men are more victimised of acquaintance, stranger and mugging, whilst women are more victimised of domestic violence. This supports previous literature as the vast majority of victim survey evidence shows that men are more victimised than women of violent crime, though women are more knowingly victimised by domestic violence (Walklate, 2007). Figures show that at least 1 in 4 women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Domestic violence against women by men is caused by the misuse of power and control within a context of male privilege (Women's Aid, 2009).
The table 'Age Band' shows that 16-24 year olds are the most victimised age group with the likelihood reducing significantly with age. This is because of their lifestyle and routine activity theories, those who go out more often are more at risk, much of which takes place in or around where people have been drinking (Davies et al. 2005). Young men are the most likely age group to spend leisure time in public places, such as bars and nightclubs, and generally are not afraid of these environments, hence why they are more victimised than any other age group (Walklate, 2007). The BCS also found that women between 16-24 years of age were more likely to suffer relationship abuse than any other age group (Home Office, 2011).
In accordance with the Home Office (2004) black and minority ethnic groups are at greater risk of becoming victims of crime than white people. This is because of their age structure, their socio-economic characteristics and the type of area they live in (Cited in Walklate, 2007). Phillips and Bowling (2002) claim that some offences are specifically directed at ethnic minorities and are described as racially motivated (Cited in Davies et al. 2005). This evidence supports the findings in table 'Ethnic Group'.
Hindelang, et al. (1978) suggests that married people can be expected to spend more time within the home than single people, especially if children are present. Also, leisure activities outside of the home are more likely to take place with both partners' present, other married couples or with other family members. As a result of these factors, married people are less likely to be alone in public, and can be expected to have lower rates of victimisation than those who are single. Painter and Farrington (1998) surveyed 1,000 people which showed that 24% of married women and 59% of divorced or separated women had been hit by their spouses (Cited in Davies, et al. 2005). This evidence supports the findings in the table 'Martial Status'.
The tables for 'hours out of home on an average weekday, number of evening visits to bar in last month, and number of visits to a nightclub in last month' also reflects the academic literature that those who go out more often are more at risk, especially if it takes place in or around where people have been drinking (Davies, et al. 2005).
After analysing the data it has become apparent that despite the BCS sample size, the unweighted base for each category must be acknowledged; this is because respondents of a low unweighted base cannot represent the adult population of England and Wales. Therefore the percentages do not entirely provide us with a true picture.
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