A pearl of knowledge

[19] 9 April 2020: Repeated Victimization: A Research Synthesis


Vandaag een zogenaamde ´kennisparel´, alweer nummer 19, dit keer over Repeat Victimization, in het Nederlands vertaald als Herhaald Slachtofferschap. Vanuit de criminologie is bekend dat een klein percentage van de bekende daders verantwoordelijk is voor een fors percentage van het totaal aantal gepleegde delicten. Afhankelijk van het type delict, blijkt dat vijf procent van de bekende daders verantwoordelijk is voor tussen de 40 en 60 procent van die gepleegde delicten. Dat een klein percentage van de bekend geworden slachtoffers een fors gedeelte het totale slachtofferschap voor zijn of haar rekening neemt, is minder bekend. Zo blijkt in het VK dat 2 procent van de slachtoffers 44 procent van de totale vermogenscriminaliteit ondergaat. Ook blijkt dat onder die groep slachtoffers er sprake is van veelvuldig herhaald slachtofferschap.

Herhaald slachtofferschap is te voorspellen

‘’Once bitten, twice bitten’’: de beste voorspeller van slachtofferschap is eerder slachtofferschap. Zo stijgt de kans op hernieuwde woninginbraak, vaak al binnen zes weken, met een factor vier ten opzichte van het gemiddelde. Er is sprake van een scheve verdeling in slachtofferschap, dit zijn zogenaamde ‘’hete slachtoffers’’. Zo blijkt dat bijvoorbeeld: twee procent van vestigingen binnen de detailhandel 30% van het totale slachtofferschap voor de rekening te nemen. Een ander voorbeeld: zeven procent van slachtoffers in publieke sector neemt 35% totale slachtofferschap voor de rekening. Er is dus sprake van concentratie van slachtofferschap op individueel niveau, op geografisch niveau en concentratie van slachtofferschap binnen objecten zoals horeca, openbaar vervoer, en  bedrijventerreinen.

Argumenten voor preventie van herhaald slachtofferschap

The chance of repeat victimization is therefore four to five times higher than the national average. The victim risk is greatest within six weeks after the first victimization. Repeated victimization occurs, among other things, in domestic violence; racial violence; child abuse; home burglary; extortion; vandalism; shoplifting; business burglary; violence against officials with a public function, including prison guards, nurses, and desk clerks. It is therefore obvious that crime prevention mainly focuses on those groups and places where the chance of repeat victimization is high. Based on the available knowledge, several arguments can be put forward for a targeted preventive approach to repeat victimization:

  • The target group for preventive measures can be clearly defined;
  • The focus is on the most problematic groups and locations;
  • Preventive measures are easy to implement because of the relatively small group;
  • Unlike with (active) perpetrators, there is no need to “search” for victims. Some of these end up at the various victim support agencies. In addition to assisting, direct information can be provided here about the repeated victim risk;
  • There is sufficient empirical evidence that these measures are effective;
  • Provides protection to the most vulnerable groups.


Repeated victimization manifests itself within specific professional groups, individuals, and locations. Prevention of repeat victimization can be organized by various parties, the police, victim support, and private security. The approach to repeat victimization appears to be effective. The targeted approach to repeat victimization contributes to the optimal use of available resources. Such a targeted policy regarding the preventive approach to large risks that are actually present can be successful in reducing crime, without this leading to displacement effects.

Een systematische review naar herhaald slachtofferschap

The enclosed research synthesis provides an overview of the effects of a preventive approach to repeat victimization. One of the authors, Graham Farrell, has been the pioneer who discovered and extensively researched the phenomenon of repeat victimization. Besides, a very nice man.


Grove, Louise E., Graham Farrell, David P. Farrington & Shane D. Johnson (2012). Preventing repeat victimization: A systematic review. Stockholm: National Council for Crime Prevention.


A large proportion of all crimes are committed against crime victims who have been victimized before, a phenomenon known as repeat victimization. There is thus a potential to achieve substantial benefits by focusing crime prevention measures on individuals, institutions or objects that have previously been exposed to crime. Successful strategies of this kind would prevent repeat victimization, and thus also would prevent a substantial proportion of all the crimes committed. The crime prevention measures that are implemented to this end may take several different forms. The strategy is not primarily about specific kinds of measures, but rather involves a way of directing crime prevention measures at relevant targets. An increasing number of crime prevention initiatives have been directed at repeat victimization especially to prevent repeat burglaries. But how well do they work? What does the research tell us?

Main conclusions

The main conclusions of this report are that:

  • A systematic review of the evidence suggests that repeat victimization can be prevented and overall crime thereby reduced.
  • The impact on crime varies with the effectiveness of prevention tactics and their implementation.
  • Appropriately-tailored situational crime prevention tactics appear to be most effective.
  • Advice and education for victims are often not effective.
  • The effectiveness of programmes depends on the effectiveness of their implementation.
  •  The success to date suggests that there is an urgent need for further research into the prevention of repeat victimization for different crime types, and into how to overcome implementation   problems.
  • Key other areas for future prevention efforts may be a focus upon the most victimized super targets, upon across-crime type repeats, and upon near repeats (similar crimes, often

committed nearby, soon after, against similar targets).

Kortom, een effectieve aanpak van criminaliteit, in dit geval in de vorm van tertiair slachtoffergerichte preventie. Goed nieuws dus. Tot morgen maar weer, op naar de volgende ´kennisparel´. Geniet van het bijna zomerweer, blijf gezond en wees vooral aardig voor elkaar.