In NZCASS, all incidents that we report on are legally crimes. When someone had experienced an incident, we asked if they thought what happened to them was ‘a crime’, ‘wrong, but not a crime’ or ‘just something that happens’.
In 2013, 59% of incidents were defined by victims as ‘a crime’, and we found this hadn’t changed over time.
When looking at how victims define different types of offences, we found victims were:
In the NZCASS, victims were asked to indicate how serious they thought an incident was. We gave them a scale of 1 to 20, where 1 was a very minor incident, like the theft of a newspaper from the gate, and 20 was the most serious crime, like murder. We used a mean (average) score to assess how seriously victims saw different offences.
Thefts and damage offences were considered less serious on average (6.5 out of 20), compared to all offences (average seriousness score of 7.4) in 2013. There were no statistically significant differences between the average seriousness score for violent interpersonal offences, burglary and vehicle offences when compared to all offences.
We asked victims how affected they were by the incident, on the scale of ‘affected very much or quite a lot’, ‘affected just a little’ to ‘not affected at all’.
Victims were ‘affected very much or quite a lot’ in 46% of incidents in 2013. When looking at how they were affected by different types of offences:
Incidents perceived as most serious – rating 10 to 20 (74%) – and incidents defined as a crime (56%) were more likely to have the victim ‘affected very much or quite a lot’, when compared to the all offence average (46%).
The types of victims in 2013 who were more likely to be ‘affected very much or quite a lot’ than the all offences average (46%) included:
When asked about types of emotional reactions the victim experienced after the incident, ‘anger or annoyance’ was the most common type of reaction for all types of incidents in 2013 – 85% of vehicle offences, 80% of theft and damage offences, 77% of burglaries and 57% of violent interpersonal offences. Victims of burglary were also more likely to note being ‘more cautious/aware’ (43%) than the all offences average (36%).
In addition to ‘anger or annoyance’, victims of violent interpersonal offences in 2013 were more likely to have the following emotional reactions after the incident than the all offences average:
When asked in 2014 what community services or organisations, other than Police, could help victims of crime, 45% of adults did not know of any. This has increased from 37% in 2009. The most common agency that people were aware of was Victim Support (36% of adults).
Victims received some kind of support for 36% of all incidents, while for 61% of incidents victims received no support. Where a violent interpersonal offence had occurred, victims were more likely to receive help or advice of some kind (46%) when compared to all offences (36%).
Friends, family and neighbours were the most common source of support for all incidents (29%), and victims of violent interpersonal offences were more likely to receive this type of support (35%).
We found that, in 11% of incidents, victims who would have liked help or advice did not get it. This ranged from some form of information and advice (5% of incidents); to personal emotional support, such as counselling or talking to someone (5% of incidents); to practical help with finances, transport, language or dependents (2% of incidents).
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