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​When is violence not a crime? Factors associated with victims’ labelling of violence as a crime

Author(s) Brennan, Iain R.
Title When is violence not a crime? Factors associated with victims' labelling of violence as a crime
Source International Review of Victimology, Online before print Nov 2015; p1-21
Date 2015
Document type Journal article
Coverage United Kingdom
Summary This study explores the circumstances under which victims regard violence against them as a crime. Data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales between 2008-09 and 2010-11 was analysed for the study. Of the 2,729 respondents who recorded violence against them, 64.8% labelled the incident as a crime. A number of factors were identified as contributing to a victim's decision to label a violent incident as a crime. Impact was an important factor to victims when labelling violence as a crime and also the relationship between the victim and the offender. Victims were twice as likely to regard violence by a non-acquaintance as a crime compared to violence by a family member or partner. In the discussion of the results the author concludes that the findings from this study indicate that decisions about crime are informed by personal and context-specific factors rather than social or structural processes and normalisation is a mechanism that operates at the individual level rather than the social. The study also examines the effect of discounting crime on a victim and the author suggests that it enables the victim to express resilience, seize control over the incident, and prevent state involvement in their victimisation.
Keywords Victimisation; crime; labelling; multilevel modelling; violence
Topic Victimisation