Good versus bad? Victims, offenders and victim-offenders in Swedish crime policy

Author(s)Heber, Anita
Title Criminal, crime victim, or John Smith? Constructions of victimhood and perpetratorship among Swedish probationers
Source European Journal of Criminology,2014, Vol 11, No. 4, pp 410-428
Date 2014
Document type Journal article
Coverage Sweden
Summary This study analyses crime policy descriptions of crime victims and offenders, and in particular discusses where the roles of crime victims and offenders coincide, known as victim-offenders. It was found that the term victim-offender can have different meanings and may mean that victimhood preceded offending, or offending can lead to victimisation or an individual can become a victim and offender on the same occasion. For the study the author examined a sample of legislative proposals in the form of bills submitted by members of the Swedish parliament between 2005 and 2010. It was found that crime victims were described as 'good' and blameless in relation to their victimisation, and the role of women and children as crime victims occupies a central place in the bills. Victim-offenders could not be included in the ideal victim category. It was also found that victim-offenders and offenders were treated the same way and it was advocated that they be punished severely. Another significant finding was that youths symbolised unpredictability and as crime victims they did not fit under the ideal victim label as there was a possibility they might commit crimes.
Keywords Victimisation; victim-offenders; offenders; juveniles; youth; ideal victim; Sweden
Topic Victimisation