Predicting fear of crime: A test of the shadow of sexual assault hypothesis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Criminologists have indicated that gender is one of the strongest predictors of fear of crime. The leading explanation for gender differences in fear of crime levels is the shadow of sexual assault hypothesis, claiming that women’s fear of sexual assault is one of the most salient factors influencing their fear of other crimes. Using a sample of 1,051 university students, this study examines the predictors of fear of crime in Sweden by testing the shadow of sexual assault hypothesis. Like the work of Ferraro, the current study suggests that the fear of sexual assault shadows the fear of other offenses, especially crimes that involve face-to-face contact between victims and offenders. Across all models, perceived risk is a consistent predictor of fear of crime among university students.


  • Mine Özascilar
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law and Society


  • victims, sociology of law, sexual assault, students, crime, criminology, Ferraro, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-284
JournalInternational Review of Victimology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Publication categoryResearch