The hedgehog and the fox; the history of victimisation surveys from a Trans-Atlantic perspective

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In his PhD thesis defended at the University of Versailles on November 12,
2014, Matthieu de Castelbajac traces back the early history of victimisation
surveys in the USA and Europe with a focus on the National Crime Victims
Surveys in the USA (starting in 1973), the Dutch Victimisation Survey
(1973), the British Crime Survey (1982) and The International Crime Victims
Survey (1988) (Castelbajac 2014). The present chapter is largely based on
this study, supplemented by additions considerations regarding the Dutch survey
and the ICVS. Firstly, we will try to understand why the American studies
in the early 1970s developed into the first ever full-fledged survey, whereas
earlier, similar attempts in Scandinavia did not get off the ground. What explains
this change of fortune of crime surveys? Next we will analyse in some
detail the original ideas behind the American survey and how these have
shaped the National Crime Victim Survey (NCVS) ever since. In the third
paragraph we will discuss the different trajectory of the first victimisation surveys
in Europe and how these have meandered into many different directions
over the years. Finally, we will reflect on the foiled plans of the European
Commission for an EU wide comparative survey.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationViktimisierungsbefragungen in Deutschland, Band 1, Ziele, Nutzen und Forschung
EditorsNathalie Guzy, Christoph Birkel, Robert Mischkowitz
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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