Sociology Index

Victimless Crime


Victimless crime are those that are of the nature of illegal gambling, drug use, and selling sex, where the victim does not experience harm and is indeed a willing participant. Certain status offense which may include consumption of alcohol, truancy, and running away from home are also victimless crimes. The conventional conception of crime implies that there is a victim of the criminal behavior who experiences harm. According to some, victimless crimes should not be regulated by criminal law. Victimless crimes are illegal acts in which the only victims are the offenders. Victimless crimes are established for social control over morality and other social relationship and are attributed mostly to low class culture. Victimless crime includes criminal or illegal acts in which all participants are consenting adults.

Victimless crimes are criminal only because politically powerful people or groups find them undesirable or offensive. Examples of victimless crimes include sex crimes, drug use, illegal gambling, sports such as cock fighting. There is an absence of restrictions against elite deviance. The small amount of street crime keeps the focus off of elite deviance. It is easier and more acceptable for upper class people with deviant behavior to engage in victimless crimes.

The classic definition of victimless crime assumes, "There is never a victim" in sex crimes, drug use, etc. A re-examination of consent indicates that people consent under pressure. Victimless crime often does have a victim, but at some level, the harm is self-inflicted.

Conflict perspectives hold that victimless crimes are criminal only because politically powerful people or groups find them undesirable or offensive.

Functionalist explanation holds that social need, not social power, underlies the labeling of victimless behaviors as criminals under labeling theory.

This paper challenges the long held hypothesis that insider trading is a victimless crime.


Blackmail as a Victimless Crime: Reply to Altman 
WALTER E. BLOCK, Loyola University New Orleans - College of Business Administration
ROBERT W. MCGEE, Barry University - Andreas School of Business 
Abstract: The authors maintain that since it is legal to gossip, it should therefore not be against the law to threaten to gossip, unless paid off not to do so. In a word, blackmail is a victimless crime, and must be legalized, if justice is to be attained.


Are Victimless Crimes Actually Harmful? - Louis Veneziano, Carol Veneziano 
A victimless crime is an illegal act that is a consensual crime and lacks a complaining participant, including such activities as drug use, gambling and prostitution. No one is harmed, or if harm occurs, it is negated by the informed consent of willing participants. A questionnaire was administered in which 944 respondents were asked to rate how much harm. if any, exists for participants engaging in four traditional victimless crimes.


Software Piracy is not a victimless crime
Abstract: Many people, industries and economies are being affected as a direct result of the growing problem of software piracy. Is software piracy a victimless crime? Who the victims of software piracy are and how they are affected by it.


American Holocaust: The Price of Victimless Crime Laws - Tim O'Donnell
American Holocaust provides a clear explanation of why victimless crime laws throughout the world are morally unjust because the laws violently uphold the ethnic, racial, moral and political opinions of the law-controlling majority. Victimless crime laws are used almost exclusively for morality control that is a politically correct way of describing religious persecution. The devastation that has been wrought by the victimless crime laws in the United States is detailed in American Holocaust.

Books on Victimless Crime

Victimless Crime?: Prostitution, Drugs, Homosexuality, and Abortion by Robert F. Meier, Gilbert Geis

American Holocaust: The Price of Victimless Crime Laws by Tim O'Donnell (Author).

Reconsidering victimless crime.: An article from: Regulation - by George C. Leef

Victimless Crimes: Crime, Justice, Punishment (Crimes, Justice, and Punishment) - Justin Fernandez

No Price Too High: Victimless Crimes and the Ninth Amendment by Robert M. Hardaway

Insurance fraud is not a 'victimless' crime.(Editorial): An article from: National Underwriter Property & Casualty-Risk & Benefits Management.