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Violent Repeat Victimization: Prospects and Challenges for Research and Practice

Janet L. Lauritsen, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Research tells us that a relatively small fraction of individuals experience a large proportion of violent victimizations. Thus, focusing on reducing repeat victimization might have a large impact on total rates of violence. However, research also tells us that most violent crime victims do not experience more than one incident during a six-month or one-year time period. As a result, special policies to prevent repeat violence may not be cost-effective for most victims.

Dr. Lauritsen summarizes existing research on repeat violent victimization, both here in the United States and abroad. She provides new findings from the National Crime Victimization Survey about the potential impact that reducing repeat victimization might have on rates of violence in the U.S. She discusses possible factors that can be used to predict whether victimization is likely to be repeated and suggest how such information can inform policy and practice. She also discusses several factors, such as persistent exposure to offenders, that appear to be unique to repeat victimization and most relevant to developing effective policies and practices.

Date Published: April 1, 2012