Exploring the victim-offender overlap at the intra-individual level: Reimagining justice for crimes of interpersonal violence

Dr Gaelle Brotto1, Assistant Professor Robyn Lincoln1

1Bond University, Gold Coast, Australia

There is increasing sophistication in the international empirical research that examines the concordance between crime victims and criminal offenders, known as the victim-offender overlap. Studies have differentiated groupings of offenders only, victims only, and neither victims nor offenders, but there remains considerable evidence for the co-occurrence of victimisation and offending. The link has been identified for most crime types, found to possess some stability over the lifecourse, and is supported by theories such as routine activities, self-control, and general strain. Despite long-standing substantiation of the overlap, there is persistent bifurcation between victims and offenders within community, media, and governmental discourse that can impact justice processes, and can also influence research endeavours. Drawing on an Australian sample of self-identified adult female victims of interpersonal violence this paper extends the line of inquiry into the overlap. The results suggest that behavioural characteristics and personality traits have the potential to elevate risk of involvement in interpersonal violence. Specifically, the regression analysis revealed that low self-control and negative emotions (impulsivity, social anxiety, and anger), were significant predictors of future risk taking and anti-social behaviours. The study has implications for enhancing our theoretical knowledge about the overlap, and for reframing policies and reinventing programs in the domain of interpersonal violence.


Dr Gaelle Brotto studied psychology at University of Lille 3 in France and came to Australia to study criminology at Bond, where she completed her masters and doctoral degrees. She continues to research and write in the victimology field and teaches in research methods, statistics, and media criminology.


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