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Criminal Justice Response to Victim Harm in the United States, 1981 (ICPSR 8249) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):


This data collection examines the ways in which victim harm affects decisions regarding arrest, prosecution, and sentencing, and the impact of these decisions on the victim's perception of the criminal justice system. Five types of offenses were studied: homicide, sexual assault, burglary, robbery, and aggravated assault. The victim file contains information on personal characteristics, results of victimization, involvement in case processing, use of victim assistance service, satisfaction with case outcomes, and opinions about the court system. The police file and the prosecutor file variables cover personal background, screening decisions on scenario cases, communication with victims, and opinions about the role of victims in the criminal justice system. The prosecutor file also includes sentencing recommendations on the scenarios. Data in the judge file cover personal background, sentencing recommendations on the scenario cases, communications with victims, sources of information regarding victim harm, and opinions about the role of victims in the criminal justice system.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Victim File - Download All Files (1.3 MB)
DS2:  Police File - Download All Files (0.6 MB)
DS3:  Prosecutor File - Download All Files (0.8 MB)
DS4:  Judge File - Download All Files (0.6 MB)
DS6:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Victim File - Download All Files (0.3 MB)

DS7:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Police File - Download All Files (0.3 MB)

DS8:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Prosecutor File - Download All Files (0.3 MB)

DS9:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Judge File - Download All Files (0.3 MB)


Study Description


Hernon, Jolene C., and Brian Forst. CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESPONSE TO VICTIM HARM IN THE UNITED STATES, 1981. ICPSR ed. Conducted by Jolene C. Hernon and Brian Forst, Institute for Law and Social Research (INSLAW). Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 1994.

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This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (82-IJ-CX-0009)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   aggravated assault, arrests, burglary, case processing, criminal justice system, homicide, perceptions, prosecution, robbery, sentencing, sexual assault, victim services, victimization, victims

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1981

Date of Collection:  

  • 1982-10--1983-02

Universe:   Population of victims and criminal justice officials in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Codebook information for the following variables is not available: Victim File V3 and V31, Police File V3, Prosecutor File V3, and Judge File V3.


Sample:   Eight sites were selected to represent regional variation in population size and types of victim services offered. The victim sample was a systematic sample selected from 1981 prosecutor files. Every tenth case up to 150 cases was taken from each site. Responses from criminal justice officials were obtained through convenience samples of police officers, prosecutors, and judges, all of whom were experienced with the five target offenses.

Data Source:

personal interviews, telephone interviews, and mailed questionnaires

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 5 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-12 All files were removed from dataset 5 and flagged as study-level files, so that they will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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