Social Influence and Crime-Victim Decision Making


Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303.


Other people can affect a crime-victim's decision to notify the police in at least four different ways: (a) by cuing the victim to a particular “script” or particular actions within a script, (b) by providing arguments and advice, (c) by indicating what normative standards operate within some group important to the victim, and (d) by providing socioemotional support or nonsupport. These four functions others serve can operate when the victim is labeling an event as a crime, when the victim is determining its seriousness, and when the victim is deciding what to do about it. This paper discusses these four functions in terms of relevant theoretical and empirical work.