Publication - Statistics

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Main Findings

Published: 15 Mar 2016
ISBN:
9781786521026

Main findings from the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15.

Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2014/15: Main Findings
5. The Impact and Perceptions of Crime

5. The Impact and Perceptions of Crime

What was the impact of crime?

5.1. Introduction

The SCJS asks respondents about the impacts of the crime they experienced, and their perceptions of the crime. This chapter presents the latest findings on the impact of crime and victims' perceptions of incidents, for example, whether they considered experiences to be 'crime' and their views on the action taken against offenders.

5.2. The Impact of Crime

The impacts of crime on victims can be emotional, financial and physical, and can vary depending on the type of violent crime or property crime experienced.

5.2.1. The Emotional Impacts of Crime

Victims were asked what, if any, emotions they felt after the crime happened. Table 5.1 shows this for all SCJS crime, property crime and violent crime.

Table 5.1 Emotional response to crime (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of SCJS crimes Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Annoyed 61 37 54
Anger 54 54 54
Shock 16 30 20
Fear 5 26 11
Lost confidence/ felt vulnerable 5 16 8
Anxious/ had panic attacks 4 16 7
Crying/ tearful 3 10 5
Depressed 4 6 4
Difficulty sleeping 3 5 4
None 3 14 6
Number of Respondents 1,640 280 1,930

Variable names: MEMO

For victims of property crime, the most commonly experienced emotion was annoyance (61%), followed by anger (54%). Similarly, victims of violent crime most commonly felt anger (54%) and annoyance (37%).

However, victims of violent crime were more likely than victims of property crime to experience strong negative emotions than victims of property crime, for example,

  • Shock (30% compared to 16%)
  • Fear (26% compared to 5%)
  • Loss of confidence (16% compared to 5%)
  • Anxiety and/or panic attacks (16% compared to 4%)

That said, victims of violent crime were also more likely than victims of property crime to say that they had no emotional response to their experience (14% compared to 3% respectively). This could be reflective of the majority of violent crime being made up of minor assault with no/negligible injury.

5.2.2. Financial Impacts of Property Crime

Victims of property crime were asked about the approximate value of items that were damaged or stolen. The range of values given was wide, reflecting the diverse nature of property crime (from stolen vehicles and housebreaking to more minor incidents of vandalism). Just over half of all property crime resulted in financial loss for the victim (53%).

As presented in Figure 5.1, in the 90% of property crime where items were stolen, the value of stolen items was under £1,300, while 63% of respondents valued the loss at less than £150. In 68% of property crime where property was damaged, the value of the damage was less than £1,300, while 38% valued the damage as less than £150.

Figure 5.1 The value of damaged/stolen goods (SCJS 2014/15)

Figure 5.1 The value of damaged/stolen goods (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Property crime where something was damaged / stolen (damaged 1,000; stolen 1,050)
Variable name: QSVA and QDVA (property crime columns)

The extent to which the financial loss can be recouped depends on whether the property was covered by insurance and, if it was covered, whether an insurance claim was made. Item were covered by insurance in 40% of property crimes where items were damaged or stolen. Claims were made in 21% of property crimes where property was damaged or stolen goods were insured, of which 94% of claims were met in full or in part.

5.2.3. Injuries Sustained in Violent Crime

Violent crime includes attempted assault, serious assault, minor assault and robbery. The degree of violence can vary considerably within the 'violent crime' category. Serious assault, by definition, involves serious injury, while some incidents of minor assault result in no injury.

Victims reported that they sustained injuries in 48% of violent crime. Where violent crime resulted in injury, the most common injuries sustained were minor bruising or a black eye (61%), scratched or minor cuts (25%) and severe bruising (20%).

Figure 5.2 Injuries sustained in violent crime (SCJS 2014/15)

Base: Violent crime where victim was physically injured (200)
Variable name: QINW

5.3. Victims' Perceptions of Crime

The survey asks about victims' perceptions of crime, including whether they considered what happened to them to be a crime or not, and what action they think should be taken against the offender. This section provides an overview of what victims thought about the incident.

5.3.1. Whether what Happened was a Crime

It is possible that victims did not consider what happened to them to be a crime. Where they did or not may depend on the nature of the incident itself and their own perceptions of what happened.

In 66% of crime measured by the SCJS, the victim considered what happened to be a crime. Under one fifth (18%) thought that it was wrong, but not a crime and 16% considered it to be just something that happens.

Victims of property crime were more likely to think that what happened was a crime (72%) compared to victims of violent crime (49%). Thirty per cent of victims of violent crime thought that the incident was just something that happens, compared to only 10% of victims of property crime. This could be reflective of the majority of violent crime being made up of minor assaults.

5.3.2. Victims' Views on Prosecution

Victims of crime were asked whether they thought that the offender should have been prosecuted in court or not. All victims were asked this question, regardless of whether the police had come to know about the incident or whether the victim considered what happened to be a crime.

In just over half (55%) of all incidents, victims said that the offender should have been prosecuted in court. This varied by crime type, with 42% of victims of violent crime stating that the offender should be prosecuted, compared to 60% of victims of property crime.

Victims who did not think that the offender should be prosecuted in court were asked to say why (Table 5.2) . Overall, the most common reason given was that the incident was considered to be too trivial (33%).

However, the reasons given varied by the crime type. For example, victims of violent crime who did not think that the offender(s) should have been prosecuted in court were more likely to say that this was because:

  • It was a personal or private matter (23%, compared to victims of property crime 7%).
  • The offender was not responsible for their actions in some way (13%, compared to 1% of victims of property crime).

Table 5.2 Reasons why the offender should not have been prosecuted in court (SCJS 2014/15)

Percentage of SCJS crimes where respondent does not think the offender(s) should have been prosecuted or doesn't know Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Incident too trivial 39 22 33
Would be a waste of time / money 21 11 18
Courts are inappropriate for this offence 19 6 14
Personal/private/dealt with ourselves 7 23 13
Offenders were children / too young 11 12 11
No evidence / proof 9 4 7
Offender was not responsible for their actions 1 13 5
There was no loss / damage / harm 3 4 3
Courts are ineffective 2 0 1
Partly respondent's / friend's / colleague's fault 1 1 1
Because the offence was incidental 0 1 0
Number of Respondents 580 130 720

Variable names: QNCO

Where victims said that the offender should not have been prosecuted in court, they were also asked about alternatives to prosecution. Table 5.3 gives an overview of victims' views on alternatives, broken down by crime group. Victims most often said that offenders should have been given some kind of warning (22%) or apologised for what they've done (22%). Some of the other alternatives to prosecution varied between victims of property and violent crime. For example victims of property crime were more likely than victims of violent crime to say the offender should pay the victim compensation (21% and 2% respectively). However, victims of violent crime were more likely than victims of property crime to say that nothing should have happened to the offender (26% and 6% respectively).

Table 5.3 Victims' views on alternatives to prosecution

Percentage of SCJS crimes where respondent does not think the offender(s) should have been prosecuted or doesn't know Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Been given some kind of warning 23 21 22
Apologised for what they had done 23 22 22
Pay the victim compensation 21 2 15
Nothing should have happened to them 6 26 13
Given help to stop offending 4 14 7
Help the victim or the community 9 3 7
Been given a fine 7 1 5
Something else 3 6 4
Don’t know 4 3 4
Number of Respondents 600 100 800

Variable names: QNCA

5.3.3. Victims' Views on Sentences for Offenders

Where victims of crime said that they thought that the offender should have been prosecuted in court, they were asked about their views on sentences; just under a quarter thought that the offender should have been given a prison sentence (23%) and almost three-quarters thought that the offender should have been given another sentence (73%). Victims of violent crime were more likely than victims of property crime to say that the offender(s) should have been given a prison sentence (42% and 18% respectively).

Those victims who thought that the offender should have been prosecuted in court, and given an alternative sentence to prison, were asked what sentence the court should have given the offender (Table 5.4).

Table 5.4 Victims' views on alternatives to prison for offenders

Percentage of SCJS crimes where respondent thinks the offender(s) should have been prosecuted or given another sentence Property crime Violent crime All SCJS crime
Compensation order 35.845 7.394 31.654
A community service or payback order 29 35 30
A fine 20 20 20
An order where the offender is made to address the causes of their behaviour 6 20 8
A warning 7 7 7
Be electronically tagged at home 2 5 2
None of these 1 3 1
Don’t know 0 2 1
Number of Respondents 790 80 870

Variable names: QNPS

Similar proportions of these victims of property crime and violent crime suggested that a fine or a warning would be an appropriate sentence. Victims of property crime were more likely to say that a compensation order would be a suitable alternative to prison (36%, compared to 7% of victims of violent crime). In contrast, victims of violent crime were more likely to suggest an order where the offender is made to address the causes of their behaviour (20%, compared to 6% for victims of property crime).


Contact

Email: Trish Brady-Campbell