Victim and Offender Predictors of Completed Assaults

Suzanne E. Perumean-Chaney, Univ. of Nevada School of Medicine

Simple and aggravated assaults comprise a substantial portion of interpersonal violence. Further understanding of the dynamics and interplay between both parties is needed. The purpose of this papr was to examine the victim and offender factors that may have increased the likelihood of a completed assault when the victim perceived a threat. Incident-level cases from the 1992 through 1997 National Crime Victimization Survey were utilized (N=8,575). Selected variables included basic demographics (victim and offender gender, age and race), victim and offender weapon use, victim-offender relationship, and the offender's use of alcohol or drugs. Multivariate analyses indicated that victims who were female or young and offenders who used alcohol or drugs enhanced the likelihood of a completed assault following a threat to the victim. The variables that inhibited a completed assault included the victim's use of a gun or other weapon and the offender's use of a gun when compared to no weapon use. Although the victim's active resistance with a gun produced the fewest assaults, the ambiguity of defnining the assault victim and the precise mechanism under which guns reliably assist in active resistance should be the focus of future research.

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Updated 05/20/2006