Victimless crime is defined as a violation of community standards or an illicit act against a government policy or agency (Wisegeek, 2009) yet, which neither directly harms nor violates the rights of any specific person, although some people may claim it harms society as a whole. Many people consider such acts as drunk driving, prostitution, public drunkenness, assisting someone to die at his or her request, using drugs, white-collar crimes, and abortion to be victimless crimes.
They feel, as though there are no individual victims for these crimes; no one is being hurt or directly affected, so there is no crime being committed. In this paper, I will discuss the effects that these crimes have not only on the individuals that commit the crimes but also the individuals that are affected by these crimes, and the reasons why I feel that there is no such thing as a victimless crime. I feel that in every crime that is committed, there is at least one person that will be affected and become the victim of the actions that were made by another individual, or even by himself or herself.
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For a person to be found guilty and punished for a crime, there must be a perpetrator and a victim of the act for it to be considered a punishable offense. Some incidents that can be considered a crime would include, but are not limited to, rape, burglary, murder, theft, and abuse. In all of these examples, there is a clear crime that was committed as well as a person that committed the crime and a person or persons that were affected by the crime that was committed.
The problem with such crimes that are considered to be victimless crimes is that in many incidents, there is no clear and present victim, in the eyes of the law. I happen to disagree with the idea of there being victimless crimes. I believe that there are victims in each and every crime that is committed. Some of the crimes that are considered to be victimless, that I will discuss include drunk driving, prostitution, drug abuse, and white-collar crimes to include tax evasion. Many people feel that the crimes listed above are not actual crimes, but I feel differently.
In the case of drunk driving, many people feel that it is not a crime until something else happens, such as an accident or the death of an innocent person. It is a crime to drive drunk and there is always a victim. If there is a passenger in the vehicle, that person becomes a victim as well as everyone else that are on the road. There may not be an accident but everyone that is on the road with that person becomes a victim due to the fact that his or her life could come to an end due to someone wishing to drive intoxicated. Prostitution is considered to be victimless, but there are many victims of this crime.
If a man decides to pay for a prostitute and has sexual intercourse with that prostitute, he is putting his family at risk of becoming the victim. If, by chance, the prostitute has HIV or another STD, the man can take it back to his spouse and infect her; she now becomes this victim of his crime. If the husband and spouse become infected, the children become victims due to the choice that their father made. If it is the other way around, and the man has HIV or another STD, the prostitute and her family now become the victims.
Melissa Farley, PhD of Prostitution Research & Education, (2000) writes 78 percent of 55 women who sought help from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives in 1991 reported being raped an average of 16 times a year by pimps, and were raped 33 times a year by johns, 62 percent reported having been raped in prostitution, and 73 percent reported having experienced physical assault in prostitution. White-collar crimes are considered to be victimless crimes due to the fact that the money is not being from any one person in particular. In white-collar crimes, the money is being taken from a corporation, so no one is being directly affected.
One example of this would be the ENRON scandal. This scandal affected hundreds of people and made them victims of their own corporation. In this scandal, many people in upper management made quite a bit of money off the employees of the corporation, leaving them jobless and broke with no retirement. (Enron Scandal, 2008) Tax evasion is not considered to be as big of a crime as accounting fraud because of the publicity that accounting fraud receives in comparison to tax evasion. The only times that you really hear about tax evasion is when it includes big movies stars or government officials.
Such people in the news lately would include Wesley Snipes, Richard Pryor, Martha Stewart, Don King, and the latest, Tom Daschle. Christopher M. Sigerson of the IRS, (2008) said it best when he said, “We should not forget that the ultimate victims in tax fraud cases are the people of the United States and those who do not pay their fair share cheat their neighbors and their country. ” When people commit tax fraud, the victims are the rest of the law-obeying citizens that do pay their taxes, the “common” people. Drug abuse, another crimes that is considered victimless, actually has many victims.
Not only the abuser, who becomes a victim to the addiction, becomes a victim in this crime. They become a victim to the drug as their body becomes dependant on the substance. Recent studies have shown that every year in the United States there is an estimated 320,000 babies born addicted to some form of drugs. Withdraw will happen in 55 to 94 percent of all infants exposed to heroin or other opiates. (Addicted Babies, 2001-2006) These babies become the victims and then the babies have to be given to the states and they become the “problem” of the state.
The taxpayers have to pay for the care that the babies need, so it makes the taxes rise which makes the state and country become to victims as well. In all of the incidents that I spoke about, there is never just one victim, there are always numerous. In all of these “victimless” crimes, the victims range from the offender themselves to family and friends of the offender, and finally the country as a whole. As Newton stated many years ago, for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. Of course, this has to do with psychics, but it can be applied to just about every aspect of life.