U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Why Do Victims Fail to Report? The Psychology of Criminal Victimization

NCJ Number
Journal of Social Issues Volume: 40 Issue: 1 Dated: (1984) Pages: 39-50
R F Kidd; E F Chayet
Date Published
12 pages
This article reviews emotional and cognitive reactions to criminal victimization.
It draws connections between the contents of these reactions and victims' reluctance to report the crime to authorities. Since between one half and two thirds of all crimes are not so reported, understanding these connections is critical. We argue that nonreporting is the result of three factors acting singly or in concert: (a) victim fear, (b) feelings of helplessness and the perceived powerlessness of police, and (c) the threat of further victimization from authorities. We believe victims react in relatively rational ways. Despite the apparent loss of control and the strong fear engendered by the experience, the victimization does not lead people to report it to authorities. Instead, reporting to police is often realistically viewed by victims as ineffective and potentially costly. (Publisher abstract)


No download available