No. XXIX-XXX (2008)

Assisting Victims. The British Model in Comparative Context

Robert I. Mawby
University of Plymouth
Lesley A. Simmonds
University of Plymouth

Published 2008-04-01


  • crime victims,
  • criminal justice system,
  • victim assistance programmes

How to Cite

Mawby, R. I., & Simmonds, L. A. (2008). Assisting Victims. The British Model in Comparative Context. Archives of Criminology, (XXIX-XXX), 555–565.


The article focusses on victims of domestic burglary. The author begins by showing the evidence of the harm to the victim’s well being caused by this type of crime. Furthermore, the author presents examples of services that provide personal help shortly after a crime, from both the US (victim assistance programmes) and the UK (victim support services) in order to illustrate the differences between them and the difficulties of moving towards common policies. Research conducted with Plymouth Victim Support shows the cost of spreading a wider net of victim support by replacing personal contact with phones and letters: only a small minority of the victims who are contacted by post request any further contact. The author argues that these forms may make the victims reluctant to ask for help and may leave them unaware of what help is available. The article ends with a critique of the changes made to the British victim support system, which have resulted in a reduced role of direct contact in favour of quicker forms of contact, such as letters and telephone conversations. The author believes that shift to be based on the falseassumption that victims who are particularly in need, at the precise moment they are most vulnerable, will have enough persistence to follow up on the offer of further help.


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