U.S. flag

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

Defining and Evaluating Perceptions of Victim Blame in Antigay Hate Crimes

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 28 Issue: 14 Dated: September 2013 Pages: 2894-2914
Robert J. Cramer; Matt R. Nobles; Amanda M. Amacker; Lisa Dovoedo
Date Published
September 2013
21 pages

Victimology research often hinges on attribution of blame toward victims despite a lack of conceptual agreement on the definition and measure of the construct.


Drawing on established blame attribution and intent literature, the present study evaluates psychometric properties of the Perceptions of Victim Blame Scale PVBS using mock jury samples in a vignette-based capital murder antigay hate crime context. Factor analyses show support for a three-factor structure with the following perceptions of victim blame subscales: Malice, Recklessness, and Unreliability. All factors displayed expected positive associations with homonegativity and authoritarianism. Likewise, all factors displayed null relations with trait aggression and social desirability. Only the Malice factor predicted sentencing decisions after controlling for crime condition and support for the death penalty. Results are reviewed with respect to blame attribution theory and practical application of a revised PVBS. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage.