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Interchangeable Roles of Victim and Victimizer

NCJ Number
E A Fattah
Date Published
26 pages
The role of people's victimization in their subsequent offending is examined, with emphasis on implications for the criminal justice system.
The discussion emphasizes that victimization and offending behavior are closely linked, the victim and offender populations overlap, and the same individual can move successively or even simultaneously from one role to the other. Victimization is an antecedent to violent behavior, in that retaliation is a crucial component of violence. Nevertheless, causal explanations of juvenile delinquency and crime ignore the role of victimization. The concept of response variability explains why victims of violence do not always become violent themselves. One crucial area in which violence prevention could begin is related to corporal punishment of children. Cultures with high crime rates invariably use corporal punishment as their main socialization techniques, while cultures with low crime rates deemphasize corporal punishment. Further research is needed to develop a theory of offending behavior that incorporates the role victimization has in such behavior. 108 references