Crime is an everyday phenomenon found to have eaten deep into the heart of every society. It is a common word which has uncommon connotations, depending on what an individual or group thinks or defines it. They observed that since every society has its rules or norms designated to control the behavior of its member, according to the behavioral school of thought then is the study of those activities that violates socially prescribed standards, whether or not it breaks some criminal law. Crime is a tremendously broad and expensive social problem.
Crime is any intention, act or omission, in violation of criminal law (statutory and case law), committed without defense or justification and sanctioned by the state, as a felony or simple offense. It is therefore evident that criminal activities have negative impact on society, community, and most especially on the victims, on which such crimes are perpetrated. Activities such as murder, rape, child trafficking, arson, burglary, gambling, robbery, embezzlement, assault and prostitution are examples of these crimes committed. It should be noted that individuals have the desire to feel safe in their homes places of work, community and whenever they find themselves. To fulfil this urge, criminal activities are reported to appropriate authorities, established to safeguard the lives and properties of its citizens. The criminal justice system is therefore, put in place to deliver crimes reported to them.
Crimes reported cannot be said to have effectively reduced the rate of criminal activities, making people lose their faith in the Criminal Justice System (CJS). Individuals or groups concurrently complain about the injustice they suffer when nefarious criminal acts are overlooked and treated with such low level of seriousness. It could be concluded therefore that the major factor adducible to the loose of faith of individual, group and corporate bodies, is the perceived inefficiency of the so-called appropriate bodies.
There are various types of crime and the victims of such crimes. The types of crime include white-collar crime, property crime, violent crime, organized crime and consensual crime. Crimes such as human trafficking, rape and sexual assault, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence are very rampant and the victims here are usually women and children as being the most vulnerable people in the society. There are victims of fraud who due to ignorance, become target for fraudsters and as such, they lose their valuables to these fraudsters. There are also victims of social media who fall victim to those cyber bullies and as such, these bullies hurt them emotionally and can reduce their self-esteem and most times, slander is committed against them.
For victims of rape, most of them are either raped by people close to them or even strangers and they do not open up due to stigmatization from people in the society. Also for victims of child abuse, they are most times molested by the ones that are close to them and so are afraid to open up concerning the crime done to them either because they are afraid of what might be done to them or because they have genuine likeness for the perpetrator of such acts and as such, they do not speak about it. For victims of human trafficking, they are usually lured from their homes by those traffickers who promise them a better life and greener pastures, due to poverty, some go willingly and becomes sex slaves and forced to do hard labor. Ignorance and poverty are the main reasons why some parents allow their children to be taken away.
These victims of these crimes apart from what is being done to them, also run the risk of unwanted pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and may sometimes be used for rituals. They go through a lot of emotional and psychological trauma and this can lead to depression and other negative things that can affect their health.
However, the unending issues concerning the victims of these kind of crimes still exist and become very rampant. Every day, people stay at a risk of being victims of these crimes. Only by understanding its depth, breadth and scope can we design policies to fight it. This understanding eludes us; efforts to curb these crimes so far has been uncoordinated and inefficient. The above problems compelled the current research work to make an analysis of victims of crime, with a view of providing recommendations to the identified problems.
1.2. Statement Of The Problem
Many societies all over the world have to contend with the consequences of criminal activities, which include lives and properties fear of the unknown, political instability, victimization by conventional criminals, amongst others.
Even though a member of the society reports a crime to a law enforcement officer, it would not be counted unless it is recorded in a way that allows it to be incorporated into the crime statistics, as a consequence, offending particularly minor offending, may be significantly under counted in situations where law enforcement officers are overloaded with work or do not perceive the offending as worth recording. Some crimes reported are not done in a way that the actual event of things is made known. These crimes lack uniformity, which produce obvious difficulties in actually investigating and solving the crimes that are reported. Another causal factor may include the time frame of the crime.
There are various victims that suffer as a consequence of this various crimes being committed and most victims usually do not come out to report their offenders and as such, these crimes are growing every day and people become victims on a daily basis. A firsthand account is relatively low. For example by the time a robbery case is being reported, the robbers will probably have fled the victims in the hospital, answering police questions if any is around or even in the mortuary.
Certain behavior are labeled deviant which in actual fact may not be, according to the criminal code of that particular society. Members of the society (victims and witnesses), are most times ignorant of criminal laws. When such behaviors are reported, they are more or less unimportant. Crimes known to police (CKP), already certified as reported may not be analyzed as desired by victims of such immoral acts. Charges may be dropped, even when the perpetrator is arrested. Such is the situation when there is lack of evidence. Another popular incidence is the arrest of innocent persons in place of those that actually committed the crimes. This may be as a result of being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Victims of crime suffer each day especially victims of rape without being able to express themselves due to fear of stigmatization. This is a major problem because a lot of people are suffering today due to lack of opening up and that way perpetrators of this evil tend to get away scott-free because their victims do not report them making this crimes very rampant in the society. In the last decades, women and children are always victims of sexual harassments like gang rape, defilement and human trafficking. Women and children are left handicap by the government, by not paying much attention to their predicament. Most times, the criminal justice system is usually focused on the punishment of those offenders and instead of the rehabilitation of those victims.
Also, there are no reliable records in various ministry of justices and some police departments on crimes and victimizations and this has hindered the analysis of these victims of crime.
These are the various problems involved with victims of crime in Nigeria and it needs urgent intervention and control.
1.3. Aims And Objectives
The motive behind carrying out this research work is to properly and carefully scrutinize the effect of behavior contrary to the formal law in the society, on its victims and to achieve the following aims;
i. To examine the types of crime and reasons for the commission of those crimes.
ii. To analyze the victims of various types of crime.
iii. To access actual level of crime as against reported crimes.
iv. To explain the various challenges victims of these crimes face.
v. To highlight the effect or impact of such reported crimes on their victims.
vi. To analyze the challenges these victims face.
vii. To provide recommendations.
1.4. Research Methodology
The research method used in this work is the Doctrinal Method of Research and this would involves going to the library to access books and also the use of textbooks, Online Books, Articles, Reports, Journals, Seminar papers as well as Internet/ Websites.
These research methods are aimed at working towards the justification of this topic and finding a way to attack the problems concerned.
1.5. Significance Of Study
This research work is to contribute to the knowledge of the criminal activities and how they may be reduced or at most eradicated and also analyze the victims of such crime committed. It shall also act as a basis for further investigation or scrutinization on crime reporting and the various psychological social effects on its victims. It involves processes by which these victims can come out an express themselves in order to punish those offenders and also create awareness of these crimes and ways by which it can be curbed.
It further talks about the challenges these victims face and the issues arising from the Criminal Justice System concerning the way victims are being treated and the focus of the CJS in crimes committed.
Lastly, it is justifiable to conduct research on the topic from time to time in order to provide a current finding on the above problems.
1.6. Scope Of Study
This research work is basically concerned with the major effect of crime reporting on the victims and the impact of criminal activities amongst members of such society.
This study focuses on the various types of crime and the victims of such crime, reasons for commission of those crimes, study of criminal behavior and ways by which these crimes can be curbed.
This work basically focuses on the analysis of the victims of various kinds of crime committed in the society, with particular emphasis on women and children as victims, being the most vulnerable group in the society.
1.7. Literature Review
In my work, in order to understand the concept of crime, criminal behavior and the analysis of the concept of victims of crime in Nigeria, study has been made of literary from municipal and foreign sources. For example, statutes, case laws, textbooks, articles, journals, E-books, seminar papers and internet sources were used and acknowledged. The foundation of this research is based on contributions of writers on the field of criminology and criminal victimization as victims of crimes in Nigeria. The following literature were used in the course of study of this research;
A.B. Dambazau, also talks about crime as undermining the social fabric of society as it erodes the sense of safety and security. He talks about the crime impact on the society in variety of ways depending on the nature and extent of crime committed. In Dambazau’s book, he gave an emphasis on the meaning of crime and where he stated that there is no universal definition of crime and where he also went further to explain that an act may be seen as crime in a society and may not be seen as crime in another which in my own opinion, it is true because most laws are based on morals and take for example, the Sharia Law of the Northern Part of Nigeria, Adultery is a crime that must be punished but coming to the Southern Part of Nigeria where we operate a different kind of law, adultery is not a crime but it is just a moral wrong. Also, he stated that things described as crime in a society may also be seen as a crime in another country but the gravity of such crime may differ according to societies. Dambazau also stipulated the various theories of crime in his book and gave a deep insight on the theories and founders of such theories and the reason for their findings. He also got content from books and articles of various authors such as; Sykes and Gresham, in their article spoke on the theories of crime. In order to discuss crime, it is important to know that crime has various theories and they include the classical school theory, Neoclassical School, Positivist School, Sociological School, Psychological School and also the radical school. Sykes and Gresham gave us an overview of the various theories of crime. Becker and Boskoff who explained their view of sociological School explaining Durkheim’s view that in societies, crime is normal because a society without crime is utterly impossible which I totally agree to. There is no way a society can be without crime. Durkheim who is regarded as the figure in sociological school as quoted by Becker and Boskoff not only sees crime as normal but he also states that crime is not due to imperfection but that a society where there is no crime, “would necessitate a standardization of the moral concepts of all individuals which is neither possible nor desirable”.
According to Julian Cornelius it focuses on crime and the reason for criminal behaviors. He explains on how crime impacts everyone either directly as a victim or indirectly through social or economic cost. He talks about the fact that in order to change some criminal behaviors, it is best to understand the causes of criminal behavior. Although, he explains that understanding the behavior of criminals does not necessarily eliminate criminal behavior. In this article given, it is seen here that understanding the behavior of criminal doesn’t necessarily bring a stop to criminal activities but it helps at least to create awareness of these crimes and the behavior of those perpetrating the crimes in order to try and put a stop to such crimes which is not as easy as we can say. To my own opinion, creating awareness of such crimes help to reduce the number of people that become victims as a result of the commission of such crime. He talks about the roots of criminal behavior which in the 20th century, it tried to link physiological factors such as the size of a skull or skin color to criminal behaviors. In Soviet Russia and China, studies emphasized the capitalist root of crime. It also states other determinants of criminal behavior such as time frame, geographical location. It also states prevention and possible solution.
In an article written by John Heggar he noted that criminal behavior is often difficult to define and he gave six major traits in defining what criminal behavior is all about. Some of these traits are criminal peers which can be as a result of individuals having peers that are associated with criminal activities. He also gave more such as anti-social values, anti-social personality and a dysfunctional family and all this I totally agree. In the researcher’s view, Criminal behavior can be caused by various issues and situations. It can be caused by the people a person interacts with, the environment in which an individual grows up in and also many biogenetical factors which some theories see as a reason for criminal behavior.
Talking about victims of crime and victimology, Odekunle says the government sees the victims as playing a passive role in the society but this is not so as the victims and the criminals are the parties in this crime. In my own view, he is right because the victims of these crimes are not considered when dealing with the offenders and this is not fair on the victims. There are various articles and books concerning victims of crime as crime is very rampant in the society and as such, there are victims that such crime is committed against.
For rape victim, Caroline O. wrote an extensive article concerning victims of rape where she expressed that rape is suffered by women being the victims being the inequality in gender relations. She also put together her article from different works of various authors. Onyejekwe where he explained that rape is pervasive form of violence as the perpetrator uses it to inflict pain and humiliation on the victims. He explained that rape victims cause a lot of mental and psychological damage to its victims apart from just causing them physical pain. Also, she gave an account of the statistics gotten from the WHO concerning victims of rape and the increasing number in which this crime is being committed. Olowa found that between 2001 and 2005, 10, 079 rape cases were reported. He also wrote concerning the WHO’s statistics concerning the data of rape collected. The WHO multi-country study on women’s health and violence against women, 15-59% had as some times experienced sexual violence from intimate partners in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and other Sub-Saharan African countries. Rape occurs every day and it becomes very rampant and so, there is a need to curb this activity.
On issues concerning fraud, Ogunsemore talks about the ATM fraud where the fraudsters use the victims ATM cards as a way of removing money from their account. There are various reactions when person’s become victims of fraud, some even loose trust in their own judgment and this is very true as some will think that they cannot make a right decision. They also feel a sense of betrayal as this can damage them psychologically. Pam, Victoria and Ozoya also concur that due to this, some find it difficult to discuss this even with their family members due to fear of criticism. It can also destroy a victim’s sense of financial security. In my own argument, people react to fraud differently and such as many more other crimes. Some people’s reaction may be after several days or even weeks but they fall into depression most times and this can lead to various issues affecting their mind.
For victims on Intimate sexual violence, also called domestic violence, Heise and Co talk about this violence as it is committed mostly against women and which I totally agree to as women are mostly the victims of domestic violence. It includes both physical, sexual and emotional abuse. This kind of crime is only committed by the victim’s partners. Although, they explained that women can also be violent in relationships but most times, it is due to self defense but most times, violence against women in a relationship are usually done by male partners. There are also intimate partner violence in same sex relationships.
For victims of social media, various sites on the internet were sourced for this sub topic and there are victims of cyber bullying. Cyber bullying has also emerged from the increased use of technology as means of technology as a means of communication, and can be explained as occurring when an individual or group willfully uses technology communication to harass or threaten another person. It is widely known that social media can be accessed through computers and smart phone applications, and messages are easily and quickly relayed through these methods.
For victims of human trafficking, Adenekan, A. going into emphasis on issues regarding child and human trafficking, The phenomenon of slavery, no doubt, dates back to the ancient times when victorious armies and tribes in Europe and Asia found it more profitable to use as slave, people they caught in wars than to murder them like that. In many Asian countries, slaves were bought and used for various domestic and farm labour. In the 14th century, these unfortunate men and women were known as serfs, a title that classified them as members of the lowest order and are “owned” in most cases by the lords of the manor. They attended to his mundane wishes, work in farms and depended solely on him for their livelihood. He explained that victims of this kind of crime becomes victims because of the better life promised the perpetrators of this crime. Human trafficking is very rampant in many African societies and people fall victims to this type of crime everyday due to poverty, ignorance, lack of education, etc.
There are also various articles concerning the challenges these victims face and also a lot of online reports discussing these victims and what the law does about the rehabilitation of these victims.
The above literature used in the course of this research are found resourceful to this study. The literature reviewed above have addressed topical issues of concern on the various victims of crime. However, this research aims at contributing current findings and recommendations.
1.8. Chapter Outline/ Synopsis Of Chapter
This project is planned and organized into 5 chapters;
Chapter One will be based on the entire introduction of the research work, statement of problems, aims and objectives, significance and scope of the study. It also consists of literature review of the existing literatures.
Chapter Two will be focused on the meaning and types of crime and also the theories of crime.
Chapter Three talks about the main body of the work which is the meaning of victims, theories of victimization and the analysis of victims of various crimes in Nigeria.
Chapter Four focuses on the challenges victims face in Nigeria explaining the main focus of the government concerning these crimes.
Chapter Five which is the final chapter comprises of the entire project work’s summary, conclusions and recommendations.