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Study Notes

Critical Victimology

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, Eduqas, WJEC

Last updated 7 Aug 2018

Critical victimology relates the incidence of victimisation with social groups in society and seeks to point out how some social groups (such as women and the poor) are structurally more at risk of crime.

Positivist criminology concentrates on the actions and behaviour of the individual, but society is structured in such a way that some groups are more vulnerable than others. Homeless people living on the street, for instance, are much more likely to be victims of crime than the general population. While you can explain this in positivist terms ‐ sleeping on the street is putting oneself at enormous risk, it makes little sense to only consider this in terms of the individual's behaviour rather than considering the structural factors that put that individual in that situation in the first place.

In terms of the 2017 CSEW data, critical victimologists would suggest that, for instance, structural problems in society account for the high proportion of unemployed people and people in deprived areas being the victims of crime.

Evaluating Critical Victimology

Statistics suggest that men are more likely to be the victims of crime than women, though clearly there are certain types of crime where women are more likely to be the victims, such as sexual assault and domestic violence.

The very rich are structurally at risk of crime because they make an attractive target to those seeking to profit from crime, yet they are not of significant interest to most of those taking an interest in critical victimology. For example, in the CSEW data from 2017 a higher proportion of those with a household income over £50,000 had been victims of crime than those with a household income of under £10,000.

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