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Normality of Repeat Victimization From Adolescence Through Early Adulthood

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 17 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2000 Pages: 543-574
Scott Menard
Finn-Aage Esbensen
Date Published
September 2000
32 pages
Based on data from nine waves of the National Youth Survey (NYS), encompassing the years 1976-1992 and respondent ages ranging from 11 to 33 years, the present study examined the seriousness of victimization incidents reported in the NYS; the distribution of annual, cumulative, and repeat victimization by age, gender, and ethnicity; the extent to which victimization tended to be concentrated, with a relatively small proportion of victims accounting for a relatively large proportion of victimization incidents; the extent to which victimization tended to be repeat victimization as opposed to isolated incidents; and the extent to which repeat victimization tended to be continuous rather than intermittent.
The study considered three types of victimization-property, violent, and total. Property victimization included having a car, motorcycle, or bicycle stolen; having things stolen from a vehicle, having things such as clothing or other possessions stolen from a public place, vandalism, and having a purse or wallet snatched. Violent victimization included having something taken directly by force or threat, being physically attacked with or without a weapon, and being sexually attacked or raped. The distribution of victimization by age, sex, and ethnicity in the NYS was generally consistent with the distribution found in past victimization surveys. Although ethnic differences in the NYS were not statistically significant, they were in the expected direction. Of the five empirical patterns of victimization considered in the study (non-victim, one-timer, multiple, chronic, and chronic multiple), chronic multiple victimization was the most usual pattern for total victimization (74 percent) and property victimization (61 percent) from adolescence through early adulthood. Chronic multiple victimization was also the most frequently observed pattern for violent victimization. The increasing concentration of violent victimization from adolescence to early adulthood was not anticipated, and estimates of the cumulative prevalence of victimization derived from the NYS and other surveys were reasonably compatible. The author concludes that, for most individuals in the age group between 11 and 33 years, victimization is chronic, multiple, and intermittent and involves an average of one property victimization and one violent victimization per year. 48 references, 6 tables, and 1 figure