Patterns of Victimization and Gender: Linking Emotion, Coping, Reporting and Help-seeking

AuthorStephanie Fohring
Published date01 October 2022
Date01 October 2022
Subject MatterOriginal Articles
Patterns of Victimization
and Gender: Linking
Emotion, Coping,
Reporting and
Stephanie Fohring1
This paper aims to systematically address the differing experiences of men and
women across the process of victimization and to situate the findings in terms of gen-
dered differences in coping behaviours. The significance of gender and related emo-
tional responses across four stages of victimization—risk, reporting to the police,
service use and satisfaction—are explored via a series of logistic multi-level models of
Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (n = 16,000) data, each one examining the impact
of gender and emotional responses at subsequent stages in the process of victimiza-
tion. Variables representing negative emotional responses to crime felt by respond-
ents were included as proxy measures indicating poor or unsuccessful coping. These
consisted of eight binary variables measuring anger, shock, fear, depression, anxiety,
vulnerability, having difficulty sleeping and crying/being tearful. Findings demonstrate
that men have significantly greater odds of personal crime victimization (excluding
domestic and sexual violence) yet have lower odds of reporting their victimization to
the police. They are also less inclined to take up victim support services than women
and find services less helpful when they are in fact used. Also evident is the compara-
tive importance of the emotional impact of crime and coping strategies on further
involvement with the criminal justice system.
Gender, victims, reporting, services, coping, crime
When discussing gender from a victimological perspective, a small number of
issues tend to dominate the discourse; particularly popular topics include women
Original Article
Journal of Victimology
and Victim Justice
5(2) 121–138, 2022
2022 Rajiv Gandhi National
University of Law
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/25166069221139903
1 Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK
Corresponding author:
Stephanie Fohring, Northumbria University, Lynnwood House, Highroad, Newcastle TD1 2BD, UK.
122 Journal of Victimology and Victim Justice 5(2)
as victims of male violence, but also gaining traction is the topic of men as
victims. Historically, the clash between the image of the hegemonic ‘invulnerable
man’2 and the concept of the ‘ideal victim’3 has led to the frequent failure to
ascribe male victims of crime legitimate or real victim status leaving them largely
invisible as victims4 and has been described as the ‘failure of victimology’ by
Newburn and Stanko.5 On the other hand, women are more readily associated
with victims, perhaps as they are, not without controversy, more easily perceived
to be innocent, undeserving, weak and in need of protection. Even the word victim
itself is feminine, as in, for example, the French ‘la victim’.6
Although gender differences in, for example, victimization and reporting rates are
routinely reported in large-scale survey research (see for example the Crime Survey
England and Wales, Scottish Crime and Justice Survey (SCJS), National Crime and
Victimization Survey), little has been done to establish a more coherent picture of how
gender affects the entire process of victimization. That is, although we may now know
that men are more likely to be victims of violent crime (excluding sexual and/or
domestic violence), or that some research suggests the users of social and mental
health services, and self-help groups are also most often women7 an incident of crime
does not occur in a vacuum. Rather, it occurs as a single step or incident in an ongoing
process which includes not only the incident itself but the events and factors leading
up to it, as well as those that follow. Thus, it is necessary to model this process in its
entirety, including factors which affect the original risk of victimization, reporting an
incident and seeking out help and support. Additionally, within criminology, little
research addresses gender differences in coping with crime or directly links patterns
of psychological consequences of crime to coping and stress.8 Deleterious psychologi-
cal and emotional consequences may impact the coping strategies and stress levels
experienced by victims and thereby will have important repercussions for support
provision; a better understanding of these relationships could lead to more successful
prevention and engagement with service providers.
In light of the relevant literature regarding gender differences in stress and
coping styles, this paper seeks to address these issues by examining the impact of
2 R.W. , 
3 ,  in (E.A. Fattah ed.,
4 , Lessons from the Gender Agenda, in  (Sandra
Walklate ed., Willan 2008). E. Stanko & K. Hobdell, Assault on Men: Masculinity and Male Victim-
ization, 33 
5 T, When Men Are Victims: The Failure of Victimology, in 
 (G. Letherby & Y. Jewkes eds., SAGE 2002).
6 J. Van Dijk, Free the Victim: A Critique of the Western Conception of Victimhood, .
7 Sex, Illness, Illness Behaviour and the Use of Health Services,  2
Correlates of Help-seeking in Adolescence, 
 African American Service Use for Mental Health Problems,
. The Help-seeking Decisions of Violent Crime
Victims: An Examination of the Direct and Conditional Eects of Gender and the Victim–Oender
Relationship, 
8 Does Type of Crime Aect the Stress and Coping Process? Implications
of Intimate Partner Violence, 

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT