Introduction to Criminal science
Criminal science is a study that helps in understanding various aspects of crime and is impact over victims.. Countries have developed certain laws and policies which are to be followed by all people who are residing in that region. Public interests and constitutional laws must not be violated or breached by any activity of an individual or group. The existence of crimes with no victims and their dimensional aspects has been depicted is presented in this essay.
Victim is a term that is used for referring a person that has been subjected to certain activity which is criminal or accidental. For instance, a car is run over by a truck. Two people were riding in the car and truck was carrying only the driver. Both passengers of car were dead but truck driver was severely injured. Through this example, it is easy to understand that all three people involved in the incident were victims. It is the responsibility of legal authorities to find out whether the situation was a criminal offence or an accident (Emmanouil, 2015). It is important to understand the procedures and facts which society considers before concluding whether an incident is legal or not. Classification of situations and actions as a criminal offence is based on interpretation of information gathered with reference to different subjective norms. These can be cultural, historical, political or judicial norms. It helps in understanding critical depth of offence and its relativity with the victims. The type of behaviour which is considered as criminal totally depends on the actions which are initiated by one individual (Button, Lewis and Tapley, 2014).
Victimless crimes are a situation where no victims exist apparently. The possibility of a crime or criminal activity where no victims are present is less. Cases like drug addiction or prostitution are considered as the victimless crimes by some philosophers while others are considered as the act of victimisation. Generally, when a person provides his/her consent in performing a criminal offence, then no victims are produced in this event (Hughes, 2014). Equality Act of 2010 depicts that victimisation is an unjust activity. The discrimination of individuals on various bases is a form of victimisation. Often prostitution, gaming and sodomy give rise to controversies that depict two sided response i.e. either these are victimless crimes or they are an act of victimisation.
Harm, injury or any sort of abuse which is caused to the individuals by any act makes them the victims of crime. It is injustice to infer that no such crimes exist where individuals are not victimised (Bergelson, 2013). Violation of human rights of one individual due to activities of others is a form of victimisation. Most of the nation considers use of recreational drugs and medicines as a victimless crime. Since, individuals opting for recreational drugs have given their consent, then criminal law doesn't hold them victim but accuses the person himself to be guilty of the situation. This makes this exercise as a victimless crime. There are various types of crimes which exist in the societies. These include crime against persons, property, and morality or hate crimes, white collar crimes, etc. Different levels are experienced in each category of crime. For instance: white collar crimes are generally committed by people belonging to the high class society (Youngs and Canter, 2014). The general motive behind this unfair act is to earn or gather more monetary benefits. These cannot be classified as the victimless crime until information regarding no victimisation is acquired.
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Every victimless crime has different perspectives. The rulers of justice consider drug addiction as a victimless criminal activity while individual philosophers and voluntary activists depict that there are people who are victimised by such acts. Children or relatives of the person who are involved in drugs are affected badly. There can be situations when harsh incidents may take place in which other people may get distressed (Wyatt, 2016). For example: when a person takes drugs and then drives the car then the probability of road accident increase. The person can hit anyone walking on the street and as a result, the highly debated victimless crime will now be classified as a criminal offence. Socialists consider that no such thing like victimless crimes exists. There is always victims which are sometimes not identified after occurrence of an event.
Practical significance of victimless crimes was considered in the earlier time when judicial practitioners considered this as a tool to reduce penalty or impact of sentence (Clinard, Quinney and Wildeman, 2014). Distribution, selling and formulation of drugs, illegal gambling, and prostitution as well as pornography are highly classified the victimless crime. Human rights of individuals engaged in these activities are not violated because of their consent and agreement in being a part of this crime. Another contradictory criminal offence which is considered as victimless is the white collar crime. Individuals who do not pay taxes or are violating laws of ethical governance but their activities are not having any impact over other individuals (Bergelson, 2013. This causes them to commit a victimless crime. But the impact of such offences is deep routed and there is always a possibility that some victims exists (Mayhew and Van Dijk, 2014). For instance, a politician is exposed for a scandal regarding development of unfit infrastructure over a place. When judicial trials were conducted, it was found that no injuries or harm was caused to any individual. But there is a possibility that the structure might collapse. Hence, in the eyes of law, there were no victims but local communities and different activists considered this act as a non-victimless crime.
It totally depends on the perseverance of individuals whenever a conclusion regarding victimless crimes has to be made. People who get involved with intake of drugs are committing a serious offence which is causing problem to their own health. These situations of criminal offence is categorised as victimless because of lack of responsibility towards other individuals and no interference with rights of other people (Green, 2015). Only such cases are called criminal offences with no victim. Criminology is the study of examining a crime situation and the reactions which are generated through it. It is important to create an in-depth analysis for the same so that justice can be provided to those who were affected by the incident and punishment can be given to the guilty.
The importance of this study is felt when cases or criminal activities are examined for understanding whether it is a victimless crime or not (Hughes, 2014). Once, the consequences and contributing factors are completely analysed then proper conclusions can be made. Suicide is a crime in which only the participating individual is affected. Hence, it is categorised as a victimless crime. The behaviour of a person is the major factor that determines what kind of crime he/she is going to commit. If an individual is depicting violent behaviour then his chances of committing a victimless crime are minimised (Muncie, 2014). No individual is criminal by birth. Situations or circumstances pressurise an individual to take such decisions which can cause injury or harm to other person. For instance: a teenage girl is subjected to continuous physical abuse and harassment by her guardian. Since, she is facing such harsh living conditions, she is forced to find alternatives for escaping this situation. The girl finds a technique to kill her guardian and escapes his torture. She stabbed her guardian with a knife and eventually was caught by local police authorities.
In the above example, it is clearly depicted that criminal activities of guardian victimised the girl. She was forced to address brutal living conditions and act in a deflective manner. Her action of killing the guardian was justified in one way but it wasn't a victimless crime. The individual who got stabbed was the victim of crime committed by the girl. Although social and philosophical groups will support girl's decisions and they won't consider the guardian to be the victim. Henceforth, it is concluded that judicial proceedings and actual reasons behind the occurrence of a criminal offence may be divergent (Koff, 2015). The level of punishment totally depends on the brutality of crime and the number of people that are affected by the offence.
It is quite complex to reach a particular subjective conclusion on whether victimless crimes exist or not. There are situations where no single individual is affected by the crime but there are still considered as non-victimless due to their change in perceptions. A judge from legal point of view may considered drug addiction as a victimless crime but social activists and voluntary workers may consider this as victimisation of the people who are in-taking drugs (Koff, 2015). Lack of in-depth research and proper evidences is the main reason due to which appropriate conclusions cannot be made regarding a victimless crime. But there are certain crimes which are entirely victimless. One of them is gambling. Being a completely illegal activity, the individuals who are involved in gambling provide their consent and do not give any other dimension to this crime (Button, Lewis and Tapley, 2014)
Being a topic of continuous debate and criticism, it will not be inappropriate to state that victimless crimes do exist but their quantity is too short. No other crime except the ones which are stated above are victimless (Hall, 2016). Repeals and laws which are applicable on victimless crimes are classified into two broad categories. The first one is to follow the legislation and provide proper punishment to the crime while other category is minimising or neglecting the punishment of victimless crime depending on different criteria. Drug addicts and participants of violation of certain legal rules and policies must be given a second chance for improvement according to different socialists. But the constitution of every country has certain level of punishments for each crime (Jewkes, 2015). For instance, a person who breaks the traffic rules and runs the vehicle even in red light is considered to commit a victimless crime. The intensity of this crime is not much violent but there are certain punishments depicted for this breach of law also.
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Lack of complaining parties makes the judicial proceedings of victimless crimes much more easier and less complex. The people who have committed the offence do not consider themselves as victims. The places where these acts occur are less public, in other words, people who commit suicides or take drugs won't make an agenda that they are going to perform these activities (Victimless Crime. 2016). Hence, there is no or minimum involvement of third parties. It automatically reduces the probability of victimisation. But this also means that detection and identification of such crimes is very difficult. It is quite hard to identify whether a person has committed suicide or was murdered by some other individual unless and until there is enough evidence with the investigating party. Many a times, several crimes remain unnoticed from the eyes of judicial government because of lack of observation by surrounding individuals and less interaction of the participating individual.
The controversies which take place around a criminal offence which is categorised as victimless are many (Emmanouil, 2015). But appropriate surveillance and judicial proceedings conducted by government with help of undercover agents, use of technological assistance, etc. can help in coming up on a conclusion that victimless crimes do exist. Due to fluctuations in their occurrence frequency and inefficiency of government officials in detecting such activities, provides support to the myth of non-existence of these crimes.
From the essay it can be concluded that basic information regarding the crimes that do not involve any victims or also known as victimless crimes. People who indulge in offensive acts but do not cause harm or injuries to other individuals. The intensity of victimless crimes is quite less and their judicial trails are less complex. From this essay, it is clearly understood that victimless crimes do exist but their existence is challenged due to differing perseverance of individuals.
- Bergelson, V., 2013. Victimless Crimes. The International Encyclopedia of Ethics.
- Button, M., Lewis, C. and Tapley, J., 2014. Not a victimless crime: The impact of fraud on individual victims and their families. Security Journal. 27(1). pp.36-54.
- Clinard, M. R., Quinney, R. and Wildeman, J., 2014. Criminal behavior systems: A typology. Routledge.
- Emmanouil, D., 2015. Crimes, victimizers and victims in the lives of the saints hagiographical, criminological and psychological approach.West East Journal of Social Sciences. 4(3). p.1.
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- Hall, M., 2016. Victims of environmental crime: routes for recognition, restitution and redress. Environmental Crime and Its Victims: Perspectives Within Green Criminology, p.103.
- Hughes, B.T., 2014. Strictly Taboo: Cultural Anthropology's Insights into Mass Incarceration and Victimless Crime.
- Jewkes, Y., 2015. Media and crime. Sage.
- Koff, H., 2015. Survival Strategy, Victimless Crime or Challenge to Nation-states? Exploring Informality in Cross-Border Regions.
- Mayhew, P. and Van Dijk, J., 2014. International Crime Victimization Survey. In Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (pp. 2602-2614). Springer New York.