First national victimization survey in Russia

1 Mar, 2017

In February 2017, VSE full member, Victim Support Foundation from Russia, together with the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM), the leading polling institution in Russia, have conducted the first ever national victimization survey.

The aim of the survey, which is considered somewhat of a large scale pilot study, was to measure the experiences with crime and the police and feelings of insecurity of the public. The primary objectives of the study were to learn more about victims’ experiences with the criminal justice system, to collect detailed information about the victims and the consequences of crime, and to provide an insight into the amount of unreported crime. The study estimated both 12-month and 5 years rates of victimization.

Victim Support Foundation think that this study is an important step towards a better understanding of the impact of crime on individuals and society, the range of services that may be necessary and specific measures needed to reduce victimization.

Summary of the results are as follows:

  • The victim survey carried out in 8 federal districts, 82 subjects with a sample size of 1600 and a margin of error 3,5% revealed that about 7% of the sample was victimized at least once during the last 12 months. The highest frequencies were registered for fraud (39%), personal theft (20%), battery (14%) and cybercrime (11%).
  • Of the surveyed victims 37% reported multiple victimization and 48% said the crimes were committed by multiple offenders. Thirty percent of the victims were previously acquainted with the offender(s).
  • Almost one fourth of the victims received physical harm (24%), of which 20% needed some type of medical care after the incidents and 4% required hospitalization. Of all respondents, who were victimized during the previous 12 months, 63% reported experiencing some long-term psychological effects of trauma.
  • Approximately one third of the victims were victimized in the area of their home (27%), while 15% were victimized close to their home and 16% said that the incidents occurred at their place of work. According to the results, about 49% of the crimes experienced by victims were not reported.
  • The results of the survey showed that while 30% of crime reports resulted in open criminal cases and 26% – in refusals to open criminal proceedings, 32% of the victims were unaware of any police action taken in response to their report.
  • As regards five-year victimization rates, 17% of the total sample reported crimes to the police (25% –for large cities) with 66% of them (58% – for large cities) officially recognized as victims. Only 5% of victims were able to get full (2,4%) or partial (2,7%) financial compensation for what happened.

Next survey, scheduled for the last quarter of 2017, will be conducted together with the Government Commission on Crime Prevention, and will aim at a larger sample size to draw significant conclusions that can be instrumental in developing effective policing strategies.