Secondary Victimization and Victim Assistance
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Secondary victimization has been defined as negative social or societal reaction in consequence of the primary victimization and is experienced as further violation of legitimate rights or entitlements by the victim. Unfavorable outcomes may violate several important expectations of crime victims, such as retaliation, security, and recognition of their victim status. The victim’s appraisal of the criminal proceedings has to be taken into account as potential causes of secondary victimization as well. In this study, secondary victimization by criminal proceedings was described as the victims involved perceive it. Negative as well as positive subjective effects would be measured. The power of outcome variables and procedure variables in predicting subjective effects was tested in hierarchical regression analysis; control variables such as victim age, gender, education, offense type, and victim-perpetrator relationship were included in the analysis. Participants were members of the largest and most known victim assistance association in Germany. The results suggest that criminal proceedings are frequently a secondary victimization for the crime victims involved. Secondary victimization was measured by assessing effects of criminal proceedings, as perceived by the victims, on coping with victimization, self-esteem, faith in the future, trust in the legal system, and faith in a just world. Negative effects on trust in the legal system and faith in a just world were considerably stronger than effects on coping with victimization, self-esteem, and faith in the future. Powerful predictors of secondary victimization were outcome satisfaction and subjective procedural justice. In contrast, punishment severity, interactional justice, and psychological stress by criminal proceedings did not qualify as significant predictors in multiple regression analysis. Some participants stated in written comments given at the end of the questionnaire that the criminal proceedings against the perpetrator had harmed them even more than the criminal victimization itself. 3 tables, 35 references.
Is part ofEuropean Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, 2010, vol. 18, núm. 3, p. 281–298
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