By A. Cretney

It's a universal belief that violent crime is at the raise and social surveys checklist a becoming worry of victimisation one of the public. but no longer all violence is criminalised, and masses legal violence nonetheless is going unreported. Punishing Violence examines the sequence of selections - by means of sufferers, cops, prosecutors and courts - which be sure even if violent behaviour is criminalised. Antonia Cretney and Gwynn Davis study the relationships underpinning violence, the explanations for violent acts and the standards militating opposed to winning courtroom prosecutions. In doing so, they supply an authoritative account of the truth of attack and establish a major dislocation among the needs of sufferers and the needs of the justice process within the remedy of violent crime.

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Employed in connection with assault, it conjures up a variety of images and associations—and therein lies its true significance. Police and prosecutor use of this term is not intended to imply any precise definition of the relationship between victim and assailant beyond the implication that it has (or had) some element of intimacy. The assault in question need not be upon a sexual partner for it to be referred to by the investigating police officer as ‘having something of the domestic about it’, or ‘semidomestic’, or ‘a bit domesticky’.

The elderly have by far the lowest risk of assault (Mawby 1988). This finding was deemed newsworthy when the first British Crime Survey was published, principally because of the extent to which the British press had misidentified the elderly as primary targets of violent crime. Even when their reduced exposure to risk is taken into account, victimisation rates for the elderly appear to be low. It is noteworthy, however, that assault victims aged over 50 appear much less inclined to report the incident to the police (Sparks et al.

In general, violent crime appears to have a more profound emotional impact than does non-violent crime. 2 There is doubtless a political motive in the emphasis which some victims’ groups place upon the suffering of those whom they seek to represent. It has been suggested that there is some over-emphasis, if not ‘sheer histrionics’ in their portrayal (Gottfredson 1989:212).

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