More sinned against than sinning. A study of young teenagers' experience of crime

Crime surveys have recently become commonplace in Britain. However, they tend to be based on interviewer administered questionnaires conducted with adults in their domiciles. Further, they neglect, for various reasons, to question respondents about their offending behaviour. The crime survey reporte...

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Bibliographic Details
Contributors: Ditton, Jason (Other) ; Nair, Gwyneth (Other) ; Phillips, Samuel (Other) ; Hartless, Julie M. (Other)
Format: Print Article
Language:English
Published: 1995
In:The British journal of criminology
Year: 1995, Volume: 35, Issue: 1, Pages: 114-133
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Summary:Crime surveys have recently become commonplace in Britain. However, they tend to be based on interviewer administered questionnaires conducted with adults in their domiciles. Further, they neglect, for various reasons, to question respondents about their offending behaviour. The crime survey reported here used self-completion questionnaires on a sample of 11-15 year-old young teenagers. They were questioned at school, rather than at home, and quizzed on their offending behaviour as well as on their victimization experiences.Victimization was common, with 82 per cent of the sample reporting at least one victimizationduring the previous year, with, for the whole sample, a mean of four victimizations in the previous year. Females were more likely to be victims of harassment and sexual offences, with males more likely to suffer from theft and assault. Overall, they are unlikely to report victimization experiences, although some 80 per cent of them were serious in the sense that victims identified the offender as an adult stranger. In terms of worry about victimization, females andyounger teenagers seem to worry more than males or older teenagers. Worry seems relatively independent of victimization, although rather high overall.On average, members of this sample confessed to having committed one offence a quarter of therate of victimization: hence the title, 'More Sinned Against than Sinning*. Perhaps understandably, there is a consistent inverse relationship between having committed an offence and rating the commission of it as serious.In part this study was conducted as an attempted verification of path-breaking work carried out in Edinburgh by Richard Kinsey. Overall, there are striking similarities between the resultsindependently obtained. Rales of offending are slightly but consistently higher in Glasgow, and the converse, seriousness ratings, slightly but consistently lower. Accordingly, the Glasgow study offers initial verification of the startling results of the Edinburgh study
ISSN:0007-0955