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The history of crime and punishment is an important, yet under-resourced area of criminology and criminal justice.

This valuable book provides concise but robust definitions of key terms and concepts, going well beyond a simple explanation of the word or theme. Offering a succinct approach to the vocabulary and terminology of historical and contemporary approaches to crime and punishment, it includes entries from expert contributors in a user-friendly A-Z format with clear direction to related entries and further reading. Including explanations of terms ranging from 'garrotting' to The Bow Street Runners, baby farming to juvenile delinquency, this easily accessible text will be ideal for the reader to draw on across the variety of modules and studies relating to the topic.

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This is the first accessible, succinct text to provide definitions and explanations of key terms and concepts relating to the expanding field of crime, harm and victimisation. Written by a wide range of experts, it includes theories, ideas and case studies relating to victims of conventional crime and victims outside the remit of criminal law. It encapsulates the domestic and international nature, extent and measurement of victims of crime and harm, together with responses to victims and victimisation as a result of conventional, corporate and state crimes and harms.

As part of the Companion series, entries are presented in a user-friendly A-Z format with clear links to related entries and further reading, allowing easy navigation for both students and practitioners. Filling a gap in the market, this is a good source and quick reference point for undergraduates studying a variety of courses in criminology, criminal justice, victimology and other related disciplines.

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Interest in the study of state power, civil liberties, human rights, and state sponsored crime is growing and there is a need for a book which brings these topics together. This book, part of the Companions series, provides succinct yet robust definitions and explanations of core concepts and themes in relation to state power, liberties and human rights. The entries are bound by their inter-relatedness and relevance to the study of crime and harm and the volume draws upon established and emerging commentaries from other social and political disciplines.

Laid out in a user-friendly A-Z format, it includes entries from expert contributors with clear direction to related entries and further reading. The contributors critically engage with the topics in an accessible yet challenging way, ensuring that the definitions go beyond a simple explanation of the word or theme.

It will be suitable for undergraduate and postgraduate students on a variety of courses such as Criminology, Criminal Justice, International Relations, Politics, Social Policy, Policing Studies, and Law as well as other researchers in these areas.

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It is a well-established and widely cited criminological fact that perpetrating crime and being a victim of crime decreases with age, often referred to as the age–crime curve/distribution. The high prevalence of criminal and deviant behaviour in teenage years is well documented and much of the criminological literature has agreed that offending peaks in the mid- to late teens and decreases thereafter. Similarly, official victimisation surveys, including the Crime Survey for England and Wales, reveal that a much higher proportion of adults aged 16–24 reported being a victim of crime than other age groups; internationally, survey results paint a similar picture. Victimisation sees a particularly steep decrease after the age of 50, with those aged 75 and over reporting the lowest rates of victimisation.

The types of crime that people experience change with age. According to the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics (2013), in 2011/12, robbery and theft from the person were most common for 16–24 year olds. Violent crimes were also more common for those aged under 24. The statistics are similar elsewhere, particularly in the US. Generally, young men are more at risk of being victimised than young women for the majority or crimes in the public sphere, with domestic and sexual violence being the exceptions. While a useful indication of the rates of victimisation, such statistics have been criticised by scholars such as Muncie (2003) as they do not take into account differential rates of victimisation according to other intersecting variables such as ethnicity or class.

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The term ‘victim blaming’ refers to the extent to which a person might be viewed as in some way responsible for the experience that they have suffered. In the context of criminal victimisation, this involves perceptions of how blameworthy or culpable the victim is. This idea is sometimes evident in criminal justice procedures and practice, where, in an effort to divert blame from the offender, blame is attributed to the victim (Davies, 2007). For example, the victim’s relationship with the perpetrator might be explored and/or the victim’s conduct might be subject to scrutiny, and the ways in which this is done may insinuate that the victim was blameworthy. It is therefore the manner in which the victim as witness is questioned that is crucial. Cross-examination, if insensitively done, can appear to suggest that the victim is partially responsible for bringing the injury upon themselves. The line of questioning in court of the victim-witness can appear to be testing the extent to which they may have contributed to their victimisation (Daly and Bouhours, 2010). These illustrations of ‘victim blaming’ clearly show that it is an emotively charged term.

‘Victim blaming’ is closely associated with a range of similarly controversial terms, including ‘victim precipitation’, ‘victim provocation’ and ‘victim culpability’. Each of these terms has variously been used in an attempt to understand how people become victims of crime (Walklate, 2007). Like the term ‘victim blaming’, they are emotive and controversial due to the way in which they suggest that the victim might have invited their victimisation or incited the offence and the injury/assault/attack.

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Over many thousands of years, people’s notion and awareness of child abuse or neglect has gone through different phases. In ancient times, children were not given special protection; in the Middle Ages, they were looked on as ‘little adults’ (Aries, 1962). In the mid-1800s, the idea that children ought to be protected first appeared. Beginning in France, for instance, laws first provided limited protection for children in their workplace, then the right for children to be educated and later recognised the status of the child in families. By the beginning of the 1900s, such law was common throughout mainland Europe and also marked the beginning of the transition from children being seen as objects of concern to being subjects of rights; however, another 80 years would pass before the rights of children would become universal.

In places colonised by Britain (eg Australia), early forms of child protection centred initially on concern for vagrant children and, later, on the care of abandoned (including illegitimate) and abused children whose parents were held to be socially inadequate (Swain, 2014). Laws were motivated by a desire to rescue such children and regulate those willing to care for them. Governments, on the one hand, showed a preparedness to hand children over to almost anyone offering to provide for these children while, on the other hand, showed little interest in protecting children from their parents or guardians (Liddell, 1993) or interfering with the sanctity of the family (Fogarty, 2008). Consistent with this, laws were enacted to deter parents ‘foisting their children on the state’ (Swain, 2014, p 7).

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The death penalty is literally judicial punishment by death. It is carried out in many parts of the world, particularly those adhering to Koranic law (ie those countries in which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated by Islam). Over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where executions still take place – namely, China, India, Indonesia and the US – four of the world’s most populous countries (UN, 2014). It has been practised by most societies at some point in their history, often accompanied by torture and often carried out in public. Methods range from beheading, stoning and hanging, to the use of an ‘electric chair’ or drugs. Despite its long existence, the recent trend in Western societies in particular is towards abolition. The continued use of the death penalty in some parts of the US is the exception, which Garland (2010, p 11) has called ‘a peculiar institution’, an ‘anomaly’.

Defining the death penalty as a human rights issue is something resisted by retentionist countries, but it is useful for considering the harm related to it. As a matter of human rights, it sits in an uncomfortable position (O’Byrne, 2003). It is permitted by international law and therefore, in international law, does not by itself necessarily constitute cruel, inhuman or unusual punishment or torture. However, it may become an arbitrary violation of the right to life if imposed in circumstances that breach other rights – including the right to a fair trial and the prohibition on torture.

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When focusing on elderly victims, there is a need to critically identify age as a socially constructed and evolving concept that has an impact on how those defined as ‘elderly’ victims are understood, responded to and defined. What is meant by ‘elder’, ‘older’ and ‘old’ has been discussed by Powell and Wahidin (2006), who argue that criminologists and victimologists could look to ‘critical gerontology’ to inform their disciplines from an ‘age-aware perspective’. Rypi (2012, p 167) argues that these terms can complicate research as such ‘cultural discourses’ present ‘dualistic notions … of agency within old age’. Thus, common notions of the dependent ‘elderly’ needing care are juxtaposed against active, independent senior citizens who are very much in control of their lives. Green (2007) also argues that while there are some trends relating to age and victimisation, age alone cannot totally explain these, with risks also being related to race, gender and socio-economic status.

Elderly people are believed to be disproportionately fearful of crime, despite official statistics and victim surveys like the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW) suggesting that they are least likely to become victims of crime. Research suggests that age is a close second to gender in relation to the fear of victimisation, but it may reflect the fear of crimes that predominantly target women, such as rape, sexual assault and harassment, a significant amount of which are not officially reported or recorded. Pain (1995, cited in Goodey, 2005) suggests that elderly women’s heightened fear may be explained by a lifetime of victimisation, threat and fear, and that, in reality, domestic violence against elderly people is more prevalent than is acknowledged.

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The term ‘female genital mutilation’ (FGM) (also termed ‘female genital cutting’) is defined as ‘all procedures involving partial or complete removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons’ (WHO, 1997, p 1). There are several forms of FGM; however, they fall broadly into three main forms: Type 1, clitoridectomy, where all or part of the clitoris is removed; Type 2, excision, where all or part of the clitoris and labia are removed; and Type 3, which consists of infibulation with excision. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that Types 1 and 2 are the most common forms of FGM globally, with current estimates suggesting that around 90% of FGM cases include Types 1 and 2.

FGM is a practice usually performed by untrained ‘midwives’ who lack the requisite medical expertise to deal with complications. It is a procedure that is commonly performed in unsanitary conditions with unsterilised instruments, many of which are non-medical instruments such as glass, blades and other sharp or sharpened objects. In some cases, the practice is performed by medical professionals under sanitary conditions; however, this is usually in cases where the girls and young women come from wealthy families. It is a common practice in regions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, with an estimated 100 million to 140 million girls and women being victims of FGM (WHO, 2008). Although FGM is traditionally practised in these countries, the WHO (2008) declared that the practice by immigrants has made it a public health issue in Europe, Canada, Australia and the US.

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There are key differences in the victimisation profiles of males and females. Males are predominantly the victims of homicide, robbery and non-domestic physical assault (Bureau of Justice Statistics, no date; Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2015; Office for National Statistics, 2015). Females are predominantly the victims of sexual assault and related violence. However, females also experience much higher rates of intimate-partner violence (homicide and domestic/family violence) than males, and are more likely to be victimised in a domestic setting and experience sustained violent abuse. Males are generally more likely to be victimised by a stranger or friend/acquaintance as part of an isolated incident of violence and more commonly in a public location.

The notion that a valid relationship exists between gender and the type, frequency and impact of victimisation from crime emerged with the second-wave feminist movement of the 1970s and 1980s (see Walklate, 2007; Davies, 2011). Of specific influence were the radical feminist literature and the anointing of patriarchy as fundamental in the experiences of women and girls, including their victimisation from crime. This work challenged the authority of the positivist framework of victimology, which referred to typologies, lifestyle and victim precipitation as affecting differences in victimisation. Instead, female victimisation was distinct and created by those factors that predetermined the subordinate position of women in society.

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