For the purpose of this essay I will be considering Nils Christie’s (1986) concept of the ‘ideal victim’. In considering this concept, I will discuss what is meant by an ‘ideal victim’ and will also be focusing on the high profile Australian criminal case of Anita Cobby in Blacktown on 2nd of February 1986. Anita Cobby was only 26 years old when she was abducted, brutally raped and murdered by four ‘ideal offenders’. This essay will also consider, the ways in which the media and criminal justice system have constructed Anita Cobby as an ‘ideal victim’.
Nils Christie explains that there are certain characteristics that make a victim an ‘ideal victim’. These characteristics are, young, old, weak, doing something respectable and legal,
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There are many other services that provide counselling, support groups, advocacy and court support to victims of crime such as the, Homicide Victims Support Group (Inc), Victims of Crime Assistance League and Enough is Enough Anti-Violence Movement Inc. These services were founded by individuals that were victims or secondary victims of crime. These individuals realised there was a need and lack of services available for victims and their families, to have additional support and understanding from others that had been affected by similar horrific crimes and trauma.
In addition, the criminal justice system legitimates an ‘ideal victim’ through the Victims Compensation Scheme. Victims of crime are assessed on their suffering and trauma to determine the amount of compensation they will receive. For minor crimes there is limited or no compensation. This could also be seen as using a hierarchy of victimisation, the more deserving a victim the larger the amount of compensation awarded. The Police can also help in the construction of an ‘ideal victim’.
The police as previously discussed can help in the construction of the ‘ideal victim’, through using the media to engage with the wider community about their investigations to try and develop the communities’ sympathy, support and knowledge of selected crimes. They may further legitimate the ‘ideal victim’ through their ongoing contact with the