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

Can there be such a thing as a victimless crime? Discuss with examples.

Extracts from this document...


Can there be such a thing as a 'victimless' crime? Discuss with examples. A 'victimless' crime is said to be an act that people voluntarily indulge in, but is in fact illegal under statutory laws. It is known as a consensual crime or a public order crime. Peter McWilliams' states that, "As an adult, you should be allowed to do with your person and property whatever you choose, as long as you don't physically harm the person or property of another."1 This is the essence of Common Law and yet 'victimless crime' remains illegal whether it be for a sociological good or due to moral issues such as arguments with abortion. Taking abortion as an example, in some countries it remains illegal, and in some religions it is considered impermissible and doing so ensures that one is rejected from the faith. However in the United Kingdom it only becomes a crime to have an abortion after 24 weeks and up to 28 weeks if the circumstances are exceptional2. From this we can see that different sectors of society have opposing views as to who the victim of a crime is and if there is a victim at all. In abortion, the UK evidently believe that there is no victim, but when the foetus becomes viable, that is, at 28 weeks, then there is an ethical and moral dilemma involved and an abortion is not allowed to be carried out. ...read more.


For example, in the case of R v Brown (1994) where a group of sado-masochists engaged in consensual acts of violence against each other for sexual gratification were convicted under the Defences Against the Person Act 18616. Considering violence is acceptable within sporting activities, dangerous exhibitions, surgery and body art, it is classed as unacceptable within a sexual act between consenting adults. This contrasts with the argument outlined in the drug issue that states that if one genuinely consents then there can be no victim. That an addict can't consent but a drug user who is not an addict can consent, still does not make it a victimless crime, as there are still secondary victims such as society as a whole like the taxpayers who must eventually pay the cost of rehabilitating the drug addict and supporting his dependents. The Government's introduction of the smoking ban that came into force on the 1st July 2007 is an indication that legal consensual acts still have victims. One can still smoke in the privacy of their own home, yet they can not smoke in public places where they will put others at risk with their secondary smoke. Yet in a lot of cases, people are not entitled to do a lot of things in the privacy of their own homes, such as drugs and violence, this could possibly go against their freedom of rights, people should have the right to engage in self-harming activities if they wish. ...read more.


the worries about abuse and aids as they will all be monitored securely.9 However, it could also backfire if certain acts were made legal, some problems may disappear, but new problems could surface, and I believe that once an act is legalised it would be impossible to criminalise it once again. In conclusion, I do not believe that there can be no such thing as a victimless crime, especially as there are so many varying perspectives on acts such as abortion and homosexuality that conjure up a victim and therefore the act is seen as a crime. However in criminal law there does not need to be a victim for someone to be convicted. Therefore a crime is a crime regardless of whether there is a victim or not it just makes it a lot harder to convict someone when either no one reports it or there are no witnesses to the crime. I do believe however that the government can justify almost any law by stating that it is for the good of the people, such as the wearing of a seatbelt, it seems to be a means to generate more money for the government. Yet real crimes such as drugs and prostitution do have a hidden victim, and although some people can't see it, it does not mean that the victim is not there. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Criminology 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 University Degree Criminology essays

  1. Drugs and crime.

    Heroin), B (e.g. Cannabis) or C (e.g. 'Poppers'), with A attracting the most serious punishments and fines. Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, it is an offence to unlawfully possess a controlled drug, to possess a controlled drug with intent to supply it, to unlawfully supply (sell/give/share)

  2. Using Hirschis (1969) social bond theory to analyse the drug detoxification camp run by ...

    By seeing and listening to the guest's past, the relatives are able to gain confidence and become more willing to cooperate with Wu Oi for assisting their family members. Moreover, they are given opportunity to study sentences from the Bible (Christianity)

  1. An investigation into the extent of homophobic hate crime and the leaders involved in ...

    (Serves You Right 2008) For example, one recent case that hit Manchester headlines revealed a homophobic hate crime incident where the offender threatened to kill a homosexual man and his gay partner with a 'firebomb'. The offender was initially evicted from his home, but soon after police released him back into the community where the harassment took place.

  2. Anthropology and its Uses in Single Body and Mass Fatality Cases

    thin, bony trabeculae (small, beam-like type of tissue), which create a latticework filled with bone marrow of embryonal connective tissue (see Fig. 1). There is a third type of bone, which is woven bone. This doesn't occur in the healthy adult body though; it occurs when bone has been broken or fractured and it stitches itself back together again.


    A government characterized by rampant greed and corruption and the regimes in Managua has meant that the people there especially the poor ones in the run down areas never have improved accommodation and better infrastructure and the leaders who promise these changes are the only ones who profit from selling off the companies and land.

  2. Why has the United Kingdom adopted CCTV technology with such enthusiasm and how effective ...

    Burglary dropped by 57%, criminal damage 34% and motor vehicle theft was down 49%. The reductions of crime in the areas with CCTV were much greater than the control group. On the other hand though, despite these positive results witnessed in some studies, much research into CCTV effectiveness has been inconclusive.

  1. Would the legalization of drugs in America be a good thing?

    One in eight illicit drug users will develop drug dependency which is a person requiring a drug to function normally and stopping it abruptly would cause withdrawal symptoms. Sooner or later, for most people, the drug they are using will not be enough and they will have to get their high from a more hardcore drug.

  2. Social Ethics and the Justice System. Should abortion be legalised?

    Another aspect of utilitarianism, called rule- utilitarianism is thought to be a more developed consequentialist theory. This theory accentuates the view that the right action should follow from rules that would maximise wellbeing universally (Mulgan 2007, 129). One philosopher who is aligned to rule utilitarianism is John Stuart Mill.

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