Villiga stödjare och motvilliga offer: Självpresentation och identitetsskapande hos stödjare och brottsoffer

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)

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Crime victim is a term with many connotations, which has been criticized for implying passivity and helplessness. To be categorized as a crime victim is not always welcomed. Still, being able to claim status as a victim is also connected to gains, in terms of both financial compensation and emotional support and compassion. In Sweden, Victim Support Sweden is an important actor in supplying help and support for crime victims. This thesis concerns supporters in Victim Support Sweden and the crime victims they work with. The aim of the thesis is to further the understanding of how supporters and victims understand and present themselves, as supporters and crime victims, respectively.

The empirical material was collected through focus groups performed on two occasions with 12 local victims support organizations and face-to-face interviews with 6 persons who had been in contact with Victim Support Sweden after a crime. The analysis was performed from the perspective of social psychology and narrative theory. The results are presented in the form of four articles where Articles 1-3 are based on the focus group material and Article 4 is based on the interviews with crime victims. In Article 1, focus is on the role and identity of the supporter, in Article 2 and 3 the role of the supporter and their conceptions of crime victims are studied. In Article 4, crime victims’ perspectives on the victim role and possible helpers are presented.

When the results based on the perspective of the supporter are put together, an image of the supporter as an ordinary, slightly professional, wise and unpretentious person who is also needed, engaged and flexible. The ideal supporter is embodied most clearly by the older woman. The supporters present crime victims in a way that strengthens the social identity of the supporter, both in general discussions and in narrative form. When the stories of crime victims are added, the picture becomes more complex. How prominent the supporter’s role is in crime victims’ narratives varies greatly. The role of the offender and the role of the supporter are clearly contrasted in the narratives of the crime victims. Approaching and accepting the supporter requires a pronounced distance to the offender. A last result worth noting is that weakness, which is traditionally connected to “crime victim” as a concept, can be understood in new ways.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • School of Social Work
  • Svensson, Kerstin, Supervisor
  • Johnsson, Eva, Supervisor
Award date2016 Apr 15
ISBN (Print)978-91-89604-55-1
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2016-04-15
Time: 10:15
Place: Hörsal 128, Stora Algatan 4, Lund
External reviewer(s)
Name: Hydén, Margareta
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Linköping University

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Work


  • Crime victim
  • victim support
  • social identity
  • self-presentation

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