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Understanding the Link Between Victimization and Offending: New Reflections on an Old Idea (From Surveying Crime in the 21st Century, P 55-75, 2007, Mike Hough and Mike Maxfield, eds., -- See NCJ-220695)

NCJ Number
Janet L. Lauritsen; John H. Laub
Date Published
21 pages
This chapter summarizes and evaluates the existing research on the victim-offender overlap.
The findings of this chapter agree with the 2003 research which concluded that victims and offenders are often drawn form the same population pool. Frequently referred to as the "victim-offender overlap," this relationship was found to exist in numerous countries, across various time periods, among adults as well as youths, and for many types of crime ranging from homicide to bicycle theft. Research on the relationship between victimization and offending consistently found that one of the strongest correlates of victimization was involvement in deviant or criminal behavior and that victimization was one of the strongest correlates of offending. The relationships between perpetrator and victim were much more intricate than the rough distinctions in criminal law; the relationship was linked more closely than the distinctions made in mainstream criminology and victimology. Many of the findings from earlier studies comparing victim-precipitated and other types of homicides continue to be replicated in contemporary research; a large proportion of offenders and victims had arrest records that set in motion the systematic consideration of how individual characteristics and social processes might influence risk for both violent victimization and offending. The recommendations suggest that future research use mixed methodologies that systematically combine rigorous quantitative analyses with detailed analyses of narrative data, or focused interviews with offenders and victims. A modest research agenda is suggested to integrate more fully a focus on the victim-offender overlap into criminology and criminal justice. Notes, references


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