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Criminal Victimization and Its Effect Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 19th, 2020

Summary of the Classical Strain Theory

Agnew’s Classical Strain Theory is based on the incapability of an individual to achieve an expected cultural goal. Many youths are concerned with current affairs that suit their ages such as parental care, achievement of higher grade, and fame. Concentration on immediate achievement enables youths to get rid of crimes that are rampant during adolescence.

A close attention is drawn on factors that are important in youth development in socioeconomic set ups. These factors include academic improvement, leadership roles, accomplishment of co-curricular activities, achievement of an intellectual status, duties, and set goals (Agnew et al., 2002). Majorly, people who lack or do not have the ability to acquire all factors commit crimes. Agnew et al. (2002) brings in to context a version of how the youths experience strain.

He states that many youths avoid situations that provoke pain while accomplishing immediate goals. For instance, mistreatment of children by their parents is a type of strain that is caused by the presence of negative stimuli. Many youths who reside in abusive environments are abused in many occasions. In such cases, they cannot leave their homes without the permission of their parents. As a result, their chances of escaping strain are minimal (Agnew et al., 2002).

Delinquency is one of the major reasons that compel individuals to escape strain or painful situations. For instance, a student who has a problem with an institution can be truant to escape problems. Anger reactions that are shown by a child towards a problem also lead to avoidance of strain. For example, when a child shows aggression to a teacher or a fellow pupil due to his inability to avoid conflict is a form of anger reaction.

Nonetheless, some level of strain is recognized through interaction with social environments where an individual portrays negative relations. In this case, many youths have a tendency of treating other people negatively due to anger and depression. Similarly, children are dissatisfied tend to accumulate negative values that result in development of negative behaviors or emotions (Agnew et al., 2002).

Failure to achieve personal goals and aspiration leads to development of defiant behaviors such as anger, dissatisfaction, and depression. Finally, these defiant behaviors lead to strain. Negativity can be developed when there is no link between a just judgment on the expected outcome and the actual outcome. People always compare efforts that are extended towards an activity and the product they obtain from such activities. Individuals realize satisfaction when both their efforts and reciprocation are equal. Otherwise, a situation of discontentment arises due to unfairness; hence, the individual develops feelings of strain (Agnew et al., 2002).

The death of a beloved person or moving away from a valued property can cause withdrawal of positive stimuli. Under this situation, an individual has a likelihood of developing negative emotions and anger due to withdrawal of the source of motivation. From the discussion about the causes of strains, it is evident that many people experience negative emotions that range from anger, depression, fear, anxiety, and feelings of disappointment. Accumulation of such negative strains leads to pressure within an individual. Explosion of such pressure results in negative activities such as commitment of crime by the affected individuals (Agnew et al., 2002).

Bullying of Students by Fellow Students in Schools as an Example of Victimization

Fighting or bullying amongst students in school settings is an example of victimization. Bullying behavior assumes various forms, which include physical, verbal, and/or indirect aggression activities such as spread of grapevine and manipulation of relations (DeFronzo, 1997). It is perceived as a behavior that is practiced by a person who has power over someone else. This behavior can occur without provocation of a person or a reaction towards an act. When an individual is bullied repeatedly, there is a high chance that the individual will become a bully in future. Therefore, bullying traits are associated with people who have developed deviant behaviors because of strain and negativity (DeFronzo, 1997).

An example of Personal Criminal Activity

A crime is any activity that is deemed unlawful and harmful to the society. Personal crime is an offence that is committed against a person. In most cases, personal crime results in physical injuries. Personal crimes include assaults, rape, and homicide among others (Dull & Wint, 1997).

A real life example is a case of sexual harassment case a female banker was sexually harassed and alleged that her boss had sex with her many times without her consent. The banker explained that her boss fondled her, exposed himself, and raped her by force. The case was reported to the Court of Appeal and the defendant denied the charges.

Although the case was thrown out due to dressing code issues that the defendant perceived as tempting, the Supreme Court reverted the ruling by the Court of Appeal’s decision to throw out the case. The Federal Agency that took the case was Women’s Legal Defense Fund (WLDF), which, in its amicus curiae, stated that an issue of dress code could not be included in such a case because the defendant had not reported earlier that he was sexually abused by the woman’s dressing code. In the end, justice was administered (Dull & Wint, 1997).

Statutory Crime: Driving while Drunk

Statutory crime involves both property and personal offences. For instance, drunk driving is a statutory crime that is an alcohol related. The incident of drunk driving occurred one evening when a patrolling traffic officer spotted a vehicle that was over-speeding. The driver was ordered to stop and was found to have consumed excess alcohol. Due to his condition, there was a high risk of causing an accident (Dull & Wint, 1997).

An immediate action that was taken was to report the driver to the nearest responsible authority or federal agency staff who withdrew the driver’s license. I recommend that community policing must be put in place and people should be mobilized to participate in activities that enhance crime prevention. Although community policing usually takes a long time for its effect to be realized, it can change the behaviors of individuals who are alcohol abusers (Dull & Wint, 1997).


As explained in the classical strain theory, various environments in which individuals live lead to strain. In many cases, strained individuals fail to accomplish their goals and objectives in life. This situation leads to fixations that result in accumulation of negative attitudes. Consequently, such individuals indulge in crime activities in an attempt to resolve their unsatisfied demands. For instance, bullying, victimization, and addiction can lead to accumulation of negative thoughts that lead to criminal activities. Therefore, professionals and caregivers should expose children to well-groomed environments that reduce instances of accumulating maladaptive traits.

Reference List

Agnew, R., Brezina, T., Wright, J., & Cullen, F. (2002). Strain, personality traits, and delinquency: Extending general strain theory. Criminology, 40(1), 43-71.

DeFronzo, J. (1997). Welfare and homicide. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 34(3), 395-406.

Dull, R., & Wint, A. (1997). Criminal victimization and its effect on fear of crime and justice attitudes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 12(5), 748-58.

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