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Reducing the heat on hot victims

Media Release

08 September 1999

Media release from Senator, the Hon Amanda Vanstone, Minister for Justice and Customs

The latest research paper from the Australian Institute of Criminology highlights the likelihood of victims of crime becoming victims again.

Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Amanda Vanstone, today released the paper; Revictimisation: Reducing the Heat on Hot Victims, which draws on international research into the issue.

The release of the paper comes on the eve of a two-day an Australian Institute of Criminology conference in Melbourne entitled Restoration for Victims of Crime: Contemporary Challenges, at the Carlton Crest Hotel.

"This paper highlights that it is a relatively small proportion of victims who bear a disproportionate share of crime and that once you have been a victim of crime, you are more likely to be a victim again in the future."

"This of course is a stark contrast to the 'myth' or anecdotal evidence of crime patterns. While many people might be inclined to console a burglary victim by suggesting 'lightning doesn't strike twice,' this research presents the reality that a second strike is a strong possibility and therefore, the best advice to give a victim is to help them prevent it happening again."

"The paper also suggests that geographic areas often considered crime 'hot spots' may in fact gain the reputation because of high numbers of repeat victimisation rather than spread of criminal activity."

"This information is important because it underlines the importance of effective crime prevention strategies and the value of the Federal Government's A Safer and Stronger Australia policy, including $21 million on crime prevention"

"As an example of the effectiveness of targeted crime prevention, the paper highlights that if, as a crime prevention measure, 1000 households were targeted, the success of the strategy would be far greater by deliberately selecting 1000 households which had already been victimised. Such a selection strategy may prevent 286 household crimes in previously victimised homes, compared to 86 in unvictimised homes."

"Two specific projects to reduce household burglary revictimisation are currently being trialed in Queensland and South Australia through the Federal Government's National Crime Prevention program."

The AIC paper highlights that not only does the likelihood of revictimisation increase the more you have been a victim of crime, but the same perpetrators seem to be responsible for the bulk of repeated offences against a victim.

These findings are reinforced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics latest crime and safety survey found that:

  • About 8 per cent of robbery victims experienced three or more incidents, accounting for just under 29 per cent of all robberies
  • About 6 per cent of assault victims experienced seven or more incidents, accounting for 32 per cent of all incidents
  • About 28 per cent of household victims of break-ins or attempted break-ins were victimised two or more times and accounted for 52 per cent of all such crimes