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Title: Improving victim satisfaction in volume crime investigations : the role of police actions and victim characteristics
Author: Aihio, Nelli
ISNI:       0000 0004 6425 4798
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2017
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Victim satisfaction plays a critical role in police-victim encounters. Satisfaction could affect victims’ willingness to co-operate and report future offences. This thesis explored several factors that affect victim satisfaction. As police conduct is guided by policies such as the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime, the thesis also investigated whether police emotional responses to victims had an effect on performing actions that are expected under the policy and also affect victim satisfaction. Overall, the thesis considered variables not often included in satisfaction research, victim vulnerability, introduced a new way for assessing victim distress, and explored psychological factors that could explain why certain police helping behaviours do not occur. Therefore, the thesis considers police-victim encounters as a system where both police and victim influence each other and added new ideas and evidence to the literature. The thesis reported results from four studies that utilised both quantitative and qualitative data and also, used longitudinal and experimental methods. Study 1 tested a model combining perceived police actions (updates, taking cases seriously, and offering practical help) and victim variables (reassurance and self-reported vulnerability) to predict victim satisfaction. The model predicted victim satisfaction with reassurance as the best predictor. Faster police response and more follow-up contact emerged as the most cited factors in burglary victims' responses to how police could improve their services. Study 2 explored victims' self-reported vulnerability and its relationship with demographics. It was concluded that no meaningful assumptions could be made about vulnerability based on demographic groups. Study 3 was longitudinal and identified a short assessment tool that could be used to predict victim distress post-victimisation. Study 4 explored police attributions, victim reactions towards the police, and the likelihood of police helping behaviours. Negative victim reactivity and negative emotion toward the victim was found to relate to the likelihood of helping behaviours such as contacting victims. The thesis results have implications for policy and practice in terms of providing evidence for the importance of victim policy compliance and proposes a review of vulnerability terminology in the criminal justice context to align an official definition with victim self-reports. The findings could also be used to benefit both the police in maintaining or improving satisfaction, and victims of crime as they proceed through the Criminal Justice system.
Supervisor: Frings, D. ; Wilcock, R. ; Burrell, P. Sponsor: Metropolitan Police Service ; London South Bank University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral