• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline and assess the importance of victim surveys for the sociological understanding of crime and deviance

Extracts from this document...


Outline and assess the importance of victim surveys for the sociological understanding of crime and deviance Understanding of crime and deviance is strongly influenced by the ideological perspective used to quantify it. From a Marxist perspective crime is the natural outgrowth of capitalist society. The capitalist system emphasises the maximisation of profits and the accumulation of wealth, however the biases of the same system mean that some individuals are not able to achieve these ends without turning to a life of crime. Arguably victim surveys assess and document crime without subjecting the biases of official statistics which favour the bourgeoisie and marginalise the working classes. Similarly, from a feminist perspective official statistics present nothing more than a patriarchal social construction and women are consistently under estimated both as victims and perpetrators of crime. In 1983 the Home Office research and planning department published the first British crime surveys in an attempt to overcome the limitations of annual crime statistics. ...read more.


A crime such as rape may result in the victim (either male or female) being stigmatised., therefore it is difficult to generalise the findings of victim surveys. Similarly, victim surveys suffer in terms of validity as they are based of the recollection of events which may vary from the reality. As with any survey they are subject to problems such as unreliability and the fact that the victims perspective of crime may vary from the sociological understanding. Both feminists and Marxists agree that official statistics represent a biased view. The 'dark figure' of crime, particularly with regards to crime such as domestic violence means that official statistics represent little more than a social construction. However Marxist theory favours self- report studies in the sociological understanding of crime as oppose to victim surveys. In order to gain a rounded understanding of crime it is necessary to take into account the perspective of the criminal, particularly as many are disadvantaged by class prejudices and labeling. ...read more.


As a result, it could be argued that victim surveys aid the sociological understanding of crime without stigmatising the perpetrator as criminal statistics and self report studies may do. Despite the fact that the positivist perspective emphasises the need to employ statistics in the sociological understanding of crime, evidence suggests that they present a biased picture. They fail to uncover social trends and are subject to recording anomalies, changes in reporting behaviour or even increased deployment of police in a certain area. These factors have no bearing on the sociological understanding of crime. Interpretevists stress the need for qualitative data to aid understanding, in which case victim surveys are more appropriate. Marxists and feminists alike stress the biases which invalidate official statistics, similarly they do not into account the meaning of the offense to the offender. Increases in crime may merely represent more of the ice berg being revealed. Arguably however, victim surveys offer little insight as well, similar distortions may arise due to sensitisation (or desensitisation) in the media for example. Seemingly, a rounded sociological understanding of crime is not possible. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Crime & Deviance section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Crime & Deviance essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Assess the Usefulness of Official Crime Statistics to a Sociological Understanding of Crime

    4 star(s)

    For instance, with corporate crime or fraudulent transactions from their bank account and so these types of crimes go largely unreported. It also depends on the victim perceiving what happens to them as being a crime in the case of a young child being molested or abused.

  2. Sociological Theories on Crime and Deviance

    They regard theories such as labelling and critical criminology as too sympathetic to the criminal and hostile to law and order. Right realists are less concerned to understand causes of crime and more concerned to offer realistic solutions. Although their main emphasis is on practical crime reduction, they do offer explanation for causes of crime.

  1. Crime: Social construction or reality?

    first study on Mods and rockers which stirred a real moral panic. Over the Easter bank holiday 1964 groups of working class youths met at their traditional meeting place, the seaside resort of Clacton. Due to the Easter weekend being miserable and wet there were limited amusements for the youths.

  2. Free essay

    Assess the view that crime and deviance is the result of labelling, the media ...

    of neutralisation which is where they suggest ways to justify their own crimes as exceptions to the rules, for example ' I did something that was wrong, but...'.

  1. Assess The Contribution Of Control Theory To Our Understanding Of Crime And Criminality

    It tries to suggest that many theories use these variants to specifically explain the propensity to commit crime. It purports that there will always be variants in the age, gender and race debates and that self control is a constant factor throughout all of them.

  2. describe four studies relating to crime and deviance - each from a different perspective. ...

    Symbolic interaction suggests that it is society itself that creates deviance - social action. Blummer (1969) indicated that human behaviour is not the result of social forces. He expressed that self-conscious nature of all individuals ultimately determines behaviour - individuals have a one-sided perception of any given situation and this determines their response and actions.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Main Sociological Theories of Deviance.

    The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied, deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label.' The degree to which other people will respond to a given act as deviant varies greatly. Several kinds of variation seem worth mentioning.

  2. Critically assess the contribution of labelling theory to an understanding of crime and deviance

    Lemert states that when paranoia is suspected the alleged sufferer will be observed secrecy with doctors and psychiatric appointments being made behind there back, hence they become the subject of such a well-organised conspiracy. If they had not actually before believed that they were being watched they now may well sense that they are, as in deed is the case.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work