The aims of the French national victimisation survey mirror those of the main national crime surveys on which it has been modelled : the US NCVS survey and CSEW survey for England and Wales. They are set forth in a ruling dated 30 January 2007.2 Its Article 2 stipulates that “the aims of this survey are to assess the prevalence of the different categories of victimisation over the two years leading up to the survey and their breakdown according to different socio-demographic criteria, as well as the perceived risk of victimisation and the effects of victimisation and fear of crime on the behaviour of households”.
Victimisation indicators on a downward trend
The findings presented for 2016 firstly confirm a certain number of downward trends concerning several medium- or long-term indicators. Over the medium term, there has been a confirmed drop in the number of victims of burglary or attempted burglary since 2014, fewer robberies since 2013 and a decline in physical violence (outside the household) between 2015 and 2016. Over the longer term, the number of victims of residential property vandalism has been stable since 2014 after a downward trend from 2009, and car theft also fell sharply until 2011, remaining at this low level ever since. Finally, there has also been a decline in the number of thefts not involving use of violence since 2006.
Stable indicators since 2006
Several victimisation indicators have not changed much since the first “Living Environment & Security” (CVS) survey. This is the case for property crime, thefts without evidence of a break-in in main residences and thefts of powered two-wheelers. Regarding crimes against people, threats and insults have not changed noticeably at any point during the period studied.
Indicators on the rise
Only two indicators have been following a long-term upward trend. Bank card fraud has been rising sharply since 2010. As for property crime, bicycle theft and attempted theft have, to a lesser extent, been on an almost constant upward trend since 2010. Despite a more or less general fall in the victimisation indicators, the two fear indicators identified in the CVS survey, namely fear of crime in the home and in the neighbourhood, were higher in 2016 than they were the previous year, and have thus remained at a high level throughout the 2007-2017 period. Against a backdrop of a wave of terror acts across France and Europe, in the CVS survey terrorism and attacks have become the most pressing societal concern for the French, ahead of unemployment for the first time since 2006.
Report rates are still very unequal depending on the type of crime
Structurally speaking, the CVS survey reveals variable report rates depending on the type of victimisation. The highest report rates are observed for household property crime, theft in particular (more than 75% for burglaries, car or powered two-wheeler theft for example). Theft from the person, with or without violence, is reported in around 35% to 45% of cases. Violence against the person, whether physical or otherwise (threats, insults) is reported in less than 30% of cases. This rate plummets to less than 15% with regard to sexual violence or household-related and intimate partner violence.
Characteristics of homicides committed in Paris and the inner suburbs ,
according to the census drawn up by Corail between 2007 and 2013
In 2006, the Préfecture de Police de Paris (Paris Metropolitan Police Service Headquarters) set up an Operations Cell for Matching and Analysing Associated Offences (CORAIL), for the purposes of detecting serial offences from telegrams, report logbooks or any other operational piece of data forwarded by the Paris region police forces.
On the basis of this information, the ONDRP compiled a sample of 602 homicides committed across four départements (Paris, Hauts-De-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis and Val-de-Marne) over a seven-year period (2007 to 2013) with a view to studying their characteristics.
In 2015, not including terror attacks, more than one in two female homicides were committed by a family member
In 2015, not including terror attacks, 1, 286 women were victims of homicides. According to information available on the suspects in police and gendarmerie procedures, 149 of them were victims of family-related homicides, i.e. 52.1% of them.
Intimate partner homicides account for 30.8% of women’s homicides, and family-related homicides not committed by the intimate partner for 21.3%.
One in four instances of insults, threats or physical violence takes place while victims are doing their job
On average over a two-year period, 16% of individuals over 16 years of age responding to the “Living environment and security” surveys claimed to have suffered at least one of personal assaults excluding theft and outside the household. It has been estimated that 24% of these victims indicate that the most recent assault took place while they were doing their job.
This proportion varies considerably depending on their line of business: in particular, it is more than 50% for individuals whose job involves working regularly with others, such as teachers, drivers, health workers or “the police, military and similar occupations”.
Women, the primary declared victims of physical or sexual violence
By describing the violence they have suffered over the two years prior to the "Living environment and security" (CVS) surveys, 18-75 year-old women reveal the extent to which they are more exposed than men to acts committed by someone they know – first and foremost their spouse or former spouse . Women are also more often victims of acts of a sexual nature, whatever form they may take.
Over the 2008 to 2016 survey campaigns, the annual average number of women between the ages of 18 and 75 who claimed to have been the victim of at least one act of a sexual nature over the two years prior to the study stands at 1.7 million, and the number of women subject to physical violence or threats on at least one occasion at more than 2 million. Three out of four acts of a sexual nature are committed against women, whether within or outside the household (74%), whereas almost the same percentage of men (48%) as women (52%) claim to have been a victim of physical violence or threats.
For this type of offence, the proportion of women grows the closer her links with the perpetrator: 58% for physical violence outside the household but by an acquaintance and 66% for physical violence within the household. The gap between men and women is largest when the perpetrator of the physical violence (whether outside or within the household) is the spouse or former spouse: 72% of victims are women in this case.
Who do rape victims reach out to ?
According to the 2008-2015 "Living environment and security" surveys (CVS), almost one in five people who claim to have been raped subsequently go to the police or gendarmerie (19%): 13% formally report the offence and 4% make a statement. 2% of victims do not end up formally reporting it or making statements once at the station.
In 29% of cases, victims see a psychologist or psychiatrist after their ordeal. 15% of victims get in touch with an association or a rape crisis centre helpline. Note that almost two-thirds of victims talk to a family member or friend about it (63%).
Victims who go to the police or gendarmerie are more likely to confide in another person too. Two-thirds of victims who have gone to the police have also seen a doctor, compared to 11% in the opposite case.
Lastly, almost one in five rape victims have never spoken of their ordeal (19%). This proportion is even higher for victims of household-related rape: around a third of people who have been raped by a person they live with have never spoken about it to anyone.