From Crime Policy to Victim Policy

pp 17-30

The Ideal Victim

  • Nils Christie


It is often useful within the social sciences to rely on personal experiences, or at least take this as our point of departure. So, given the challenge to lecture on the topic “Society and the victim,” I started out with some reflections on my own past history. Had I ever been a victim, and if so, when and how? And I will ask you in this audience to engage in the same exercise. Have you ever been victims? When was that? Where was it? What characterized the situation? How did you react? How did your surroundings react? Maybe I could ask you to scribble down just a few words from your own personal histories as a victim, not for my use, but for your own. Such personal memories might prove valuable during my presentation, and particularly during our later discussions.