It is said that “Ignorance of the law is no excuse“, but actually nowadays people can find any excuse for the committed crime and have even invented the term “victimless crime”. The following notion is used to refer to the actions that are forbidden by law, but cause no direct harm to health and rights of other people. It includes prostitution, gambling, abortions, ecological crimes, drug abuse. Such victimless crimes give way and promote to commitment of secondary crimes in future, called would-be crimes.
More and more offenders and new crimes are being made every day. The United States of America has the highest level of crimes commitment and this country takes the first place in the world for the number of prisoners present per 100 000 population.
There are people who state that there is no such term as “victimless crime”. Victimologists believe that there are no crimes that are really victimless. Something or someone is always in danger, hurt or offended. But there are people who state there are a lot of types of victimless crimes, thus the term is considered to be vague and abstract in terms of its classification.
First, crimes committed by mutual agreement, as a rule, they don’t do any harm to any party involved.
Second, crimes where harm is self-inflicted, like suicide or drug abuse.
Third, crimes against abstract “society” or group of people without any victims, e.g. driving without fastening the seat belts.
Fourth, crimes against specific or non-physical “victims”, for example against the government.
Fifth, crimes against specific “victims” associated with “victims” who do not allow to commit a legalized offense against them.
In every democratic society, adoption of a law that punishes “victimless crime” eventually leads to the abolition of the law, as it has previously happened with the criminal prosecution of homosexuality in most democratic countries at the end of the XX century. For the time being there are myriad of cases where the status “victimless crimes” was given. The Netherlands had legalized marijuana smoking, both for citizens and for foreign tourists. In Australia and Portugal it is allowed to keep no more than 50 grams of marijuana. “Prohibition Law” in the United States was canceled, and there is a tendency for the legalization of cannabis and other “illegal substances”, both in the USA and in other countries. Prostitution is legal in countries such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Greece, Mexico, Italy, Israel, and many other countries.
When all is said and done, every person is responsible for his or her deeds and has to stand trial in case of any crime committed. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s a serious or a petty crime, there is always a victim and a guilty party that has to answer for the actions made.
- Victims’ Code, victim Support. [online] Available at: http://www.victimsupport.org.uk/help-and-support/your-rights/victims’-code [Accessed 10 May 2016].
- The Myth of the Victimless Crime by Melissa Farley, March 12, 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/opinion/12farley.html?_r=0
- Are Data Breaches A Victimless Crime? By Paul Roberts, September 28, 2015 https://digitalguardian.com/blog/are-data-breaches-victimless-crime
- The fallacies of “victimless crime” and “idiot tax” by Paul Cooijmans, January 2010 http://paulcooijmans.com/ethics/victimless_crime.html
- Protecting the Victims of the “Victimless Crime” by Samuel Hall for GlobalJusticeBlog.com, May 24, 2016 https://www.law.utah.edu/protecting-the-victims-of-the-victimless-crime/