Criminal, crime victim, or John Smith? Constructions of victimhood and perpetratorship among Swedish probationers

 
Author(s)Heber, Anita
Title Criminal, crime victim, or John Smith? Constructions of victimhood and perpetratorship among Swedish probationers
Source International Criminal Justice Review,June 2012, Vol. 22, No. 2, pp 171-191
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Coverage Sweden
Summary Participants in this study were 16 Swedish men who had experience of both exposure to violence and exposing others to violence. All had previously been convicted of assault or manslaughter arising from assault and 15 of the men had been sentenced to prison. The semistructured interviews explored the participants' direct experience of violence, crime victimhood and perpetratorship, court cases, and time in prison. A significant finding in the study was that although the men talked about exposure to extensive and/or serious violence, they did not want to view themselves as crime victims. Crime victimhood rather than the violence itself was viewed as a negative experience and they could not gain respect from other criminals if they chose to present themselves as crime victims. The participants saw they had a challenge to move away from being a criminal and become an ordinary citizen, a 'Svensson', but being a crime victim was not an alternative. One implication from this research is that criminals' resistance to referring to themselves as victims may affect the estimates of victimisation when crime surveys are used.
Keywords Victimisation; criminal behaviour; offenders; victimhood; Sweden
Topic Victimisation