International Crime Victims Survey

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The International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS) is a large scale international survey project about crime and victimization. The project was set up to fill the gap in adequate recording of offenses by the police for purposes of comparing crime rates in different nations and to provide a crime index independent of police statistics as an alternative standardized measure. The ICVS is the most far-reaching program of standardized sample surveys to look at a householders' experience with crime, policing, crime prevention, and feelings of insecurity in a large number of nations. It also allows for analysis of how risks of crime vary among different groups of populations across social and demographic lines. There have been 6 rounds of surveys to date (1989-1992-1996-2000-2004/05-2010). Surveys have been done on 80 countries and provides information about criminal victimization in 41 countries and 66 main(capital) cities from all continents.

Why victims surveys[edit]

Reliable Crime statistics are hard to come by. Crimes recorded by the police and other authorities are a main source of information but have their limitations, these limitations are discussed in the Crime statistics article. An alternative is a victimisation survey (or victim study) in which a random sample of the population is asked about their experiences with crime and victimisation. Many countries have such surveys. They give a much better account for the volume crimes but are less accurate for crimes that occur with a (relative) low frequency such as homicide, or victimless 'crimes' such as drug (ab)use.

International comparison[edit]

Attempts to use the data from these national surveys for international comparison have failed. Differences in definitions of crime and other methodological differences are too big for proper comparison.

A group of European criminologists (Jan van Dijk, Dutch Ministry of Justice - Pat Mayhew, British Home Office - Martin Killias, Lausanne University[1]) started an international victimisation study with the sole purpose to generate international comparative crime and victimisation data. The project is now known as the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS). After the first round in 1989, the surveys were repeated in 1992, 1996, and 2000 and 2004/2005. The United Nations (UNICRI) got involved in the project in 1992 to organise the surveys in the developing countries and in Eastern Europe.


The Dutch Ministry of Justice and the British Home Office have been the driving forces behind the project over the years. A European study based on the instrument and methodology of the ICVS is the European Survey on Crime and Safety (EU ICS). This survey was done in 2005 in 18 EU member states and financed in part by the European Union. The EU ICS was executed by a consortium led by Gallup Europe. UNICRI was involved for organising the surveys in the rest of the world in 2004/05. The latest report with key findings was written by INTERVICT, the knowledge centre for victimology of Tilburg University and the Dutch Ministry of Justice in collaboration with key researchers from the participating countries. The data from the ICVS and the data from the EU ICS are available for academics for further analysis.


After each round of surveys, one or several reports have been published that gives full account of the methodology and procedures for this project.

Which crimes and crime related topics are covered?[edit]

  • The offences
    • Theft of a car
    • Theft from a car
    • (car vandalism)
    • Theft of a motorcycle/moped
    • Bicycle theft
    • Burglary
    • Attempted burglary
    • Robbery
    • Theft of personal property
    • Sexual offences (against women)
    • Assault & threat
  • Additional offences
    • Consumer fraud
    • Street level corruption
    • Hate crime (EU ICS)
    • Drugs related problems (EU ICS)

Other topics covered in the ICVS and EU ICS

  • Crime specific topics
    • Where, when and how often did it happen
    • Reporting to the police - satisfaction with report to the police
    • Victim support and need for victim support (burglary and violent crimes)
    • Identity of the offender (violent crimes)
    • Whether weapon present, type of weapon and whether actually used (violent crimes)
    • Seriousness of crimes
  • Attitudes to crime
  • Policing
  • Demographic and household information

European Survey on Crime and Safety[edit]

The European Survey on Crime and Safety (EU ICS) is an EU funded project, and builds on the ICVS methodology and the results are fully compatible with the ICVS. The EU ICS results have been published separately and in combination with the ICVS in other countries.[2][3][4]

Countries participating in the ICVS[edit]

This document provides a complete list of participating countries and cities. [1]

Key publications and further reading[edit]

ICVS-5 (2004/05)

  • Van Dijk, J.J.M., van Kesteren, J.N. & Smit, P. (2008). Criminal Victimisation in International Perspective, Key findings from the 2004-2005 ICVS and EU ICS. The Hague, Boom Legal Publishers.
  • Van Dijk, J.J.M., van Kesteren, J.N. & Smit, P. (2008). Victimización en la perspectiva internacional Resultados principales de la ENICRIV y ENECRIS 2004-2005. The Hague, Boom Legal Publishers.
  • Van Kesteren, J.N. (2007). Integrated Database from the International Crime Victims Survey (ICVS) 1989-2005, codebook and data. Tilburg, INTERVICT
  • Van Dijk, J.J.M., Manchin, R., van Kesteren, J.N. & Hideg, G. (2007). The Burden of Crime in the EU, A Comparative Analysis of the European Survey of Crime and Safety (EU ICS) 2005. Brussels, Gallup Europe

ICVS-4 (2000)

  • Van Kesteren, J.N., Mayhew, P. & Nieuwbeerta, P. (2000). Criminal Victimisation in Seventeen Industrialised Countries: Key-findings from the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey. The Hague, Ministry of Justice, WODC.
  • Naudé C.M.B, Prinsloo J.H., Ladikos A. (2006). Experiences of Crime in Thirteen African Countries: Results from the International Crime Victim Survey. Electronic Publication. Turin, UNICRI-UNODC.
  • Nieuwbeerta. P., (ed.)(2002). Crime Victimization in Comparative Perspective. Results from the International Crime Victims Survey, 1989-2000. The Hague, Boom Legal Publishers
  • Kury, H. (ed.)(2002). International Comparison of Crime and Victimization: The ICVS. Willowdale, De Sitter Publications.
  • Alvazzi del Frate, Anna, Van Kesteren, J.N., (2004). Criminal Victimisation in Urban Europe. Key findings of the 2000 International Crime Victims Survey. Turin, UNICRI.

ICVS-3 (1996)

  • Mayhew, P., Van Dijk, J.J.M. (1997). Criminal Victimisation in eleven Industrialised Countries. Key findings from the 1996 International Crime Victims Survey. The Hague: Ministry of Justice, WODC
  • Alvazzi del Frate, Anna (1998). Victims of Crime in the Developing countries. UNICRI Publication no 57, Rome.
  • Zvekic, Ugljesa (1998). Criminal victimisation in countries in transition. UNICRI Publication no 61, Rome.
  • Alvazzi del Frate, A., Hatalak, O. & Zvekic, U. (editors)(2000). Surveying Crime: A Global Perspective. Proceedings of the international conference. Rome, 19–21 November 1998. Rome, National Institute of Statistics.

ICVS-2 (1992)

  • Van Dijk, J.J.M., & Mayhew, P. (1992). Criminal victimization in the Industrialized World: Key findings of the 1989 and 1992 International Crime Surveys. The Hague: Ministry of Justice, Department of Crime Prevention.
  • Alvazzi del Frate, Anna, Zvekic, Ugljesa, Dijk, Jan J.M. van (editors)(1993) Understanding Crime, Experiences of Crime and Crime Control, Acts of the International Conference. Rome, 18–20 November 1992. UN publication No.49.
  • Zvekic, U. & Alvazzi del Frate, A. (1995). Criminal victimisation in the Developing World. United Nations Publication no 55, Rome, UNICRI.

ICVS-1 (1989)

  • Van Dijk, J.J.M., Mayhew, P. & Killias, M. (1990). Experiences of crime across the world: Key findings from the 1989 International Crime Survey. Deventer: Kluwer Law and Taxation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Van Dijk, J.J.M., Mayhew, P. & Killias, M. (1990). Experiences of crime across the world: Key findings from the 1989 International Crime Survey. Deventer: Kluwer Law and Taxation.
  2. ^ "Tilburg University - Intervict" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ EUICS Consortium. "EUICS". Retrieved 2013-01-03. 

External links[edit]