Crime victim

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From a criminal law perspective, the victim is a legal subject against whom a criminal act is or was directed.


Victimology is particularly concerned with the crime victim as an object of knowledge . In contrast, criminal law puts the offender and the offense in the foreground. The criminal offense serves to protect the freedom and the mental and physical integrity of the immediate victim, as well as the protection of the freedom of third parties and property .

There are three main factors influencing a crime, namely the offender, the victim and the course of events . The crime victim is one of the phenomenological factors. Legal subjects as victims of a crime can be natural persons as well as companies or the state . A crime victim in the narrower sense is a natural person who has suffered personal injury as a result of the crime, a crime victim in the broader sense is a natural or legal person who was materially or ideally harmed by the act .

The victim cannot always be distinguished from the object of the crime . In the case of theft , for example, the object of the crime is someone else's thing that has been taken away by the thief , the victim is the person who has been stolen. Victim and object can also be identical, as in the case of kidnapping ( Section 234a of the Criminal Code ). In order to obtain the status of Tatopfers in is tort stage the completion required.


The general word sacrifice originally stood for living beings that were killed during ritual practices. The Old Testament reports both material and animal sacrifices as well as human sacrifices . “After a while, Cain brought an offering of the fruits of the earth to the Lord” ( Gen 4,3  EU ); “But Noah built an altar to the Lord and took of every clean cattle and every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar” ( Gen 8:20  EU ). The command to Abraham deals with human sacrifices: "Take Isaac , your only son whom you love, and go to the land of Morijah and offer him there for a burnt offering on a mountain" ( Gen 22.2  EU ).

The concept of the victim has only existed since the 19th century for people who have suffered disadvantage, damage or injury . For the purposes of criminal law clarification, the term victim is generally used. The criminologist Hans von Hentig published a book in 1948 that laid the foundation for victimology. The first victimological textbook in 1968 stated, among other things, that the victim was jointly responsible for preventing the crime.

Legal issues

The victim appears as a "victim" in the legal text of the offender-victim settlement under Section 46a of the Criminal Code. Crime victims are not always natural persons. For example, in the case of theft ( Section 242 of the Criminal Code), the victim is the person stolen, which can be both a natural person (in the case of pickpocketing ) and a company (in the case of shoplifting ). Companies are exclusively victims of insurance fraud ( Section 265 StGB; insurers ), fraudulent payments ( Section 265a StGB; passenger transport companies ) or credit fraud ( Section 265b StGB; credit institutions or other lenders ). In the case of bank robbery , the victim is a credit institution; however, if customers who happen to be present get into the line of fire , they are also victims. The state is a victim of crimes against the state such as treason ( § 94 StGB), betrayal of secrets ( § 95 StGB) or secret service agent activity ( § 99 StGB) because a serious disadvantage for its external security threatens or occurs.

The victim does not always have to be directly confronted with the perpetrator, as in the case of bodily harm ( Section 223 ff. StGB) or murder ( Section 211 StGB), because in the case of burglary ( Section 244 (1) No. 3 StGB) the victim is usually not present. The direct confrontation between perpetrator and victim is based on a sociodynamic course of events in all offenses that require a confrontation between perpetrator and victim, such as fraud , extortion or robbery . During the confrontation, the perpetrator must at least use verbal threats to intimidate his victim in order to achieve success . On the other hand, the perpetrator “uses” a dangerous tool when he holds a crowbar “with light pressure in the back” of the victims, thereby seizing them and at the same time calling on them to follow his instructions to avoid adverse consequences; The victim must perceive the means of coercion and the threat of his use.

In two cases, the perpetrator erroneously and objectively targets the wrong victim:

The decision to act is tied to the object selected by the perpetrator. In both cases, the offender's intended success did not occur and the offender's punishment is legally controversial.

Victim protection

The psychological stress of Tatopfer by the criminal proceedings be reduced by various legal norms. The first victim protection law came into effect in April 1987 in Kratt. According to § 24 Abs. 1 Nr. 3 GVG , a victim of a crime can be protected from multiple hearings as a witness if he is particularly vulnerable by bringing charges to the regional court instead of the local court . The courts are always required to give special consideration to victim protection interests when making decisions about the scope of the taking of evidence . The guidelines for criminal proceedings and fine proceedings (RiStBV) contain further instructions for the public prosecutor's offices (No. 4c, 19 para. 1 and 19a RiStBV). After § 406f para. 1 Code of Criminal Procedure which do not belong to co-plaintiff authorized injured be assisted by a lawyer operate or be represented by such a present. A lawyer present to question the injured person is permitted to be present.


With 780,788 crimes committed by perpetrators over the age of 21, there were a total of 1,023 murder victims, 3,049 manslaughter victims, 616 negligent homicides, 16,833 victims of sexual self-determination, 5,513 rape victims, 31,326 robbery / predatory extortion victims, 8,586 other robbery and other robberies on theft, 10,737 , 464,203 physical injuries and 163,303 victims of other violent crime. 23.8% of all victims of serious criminal offenses find the court process unpleasant because of the renewed encounter with the perpetrator, 31.3% are reluctant to confront the perpetrator.


The forensics uses the knowledge of biology , chemistry , logic , physics or technology , so that international conditions are the same for the Tatopfer.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Helmut Satzger / Bertram Schmitt / Gunter Widmaier, Criminal Code: Commentary , 2009, p. 1439
  2. Alexander Horn, The Logic of Act: Findings of a Profiler , 2014, o. P.
  3. Horst Clages / Ina Zeitner, Kriminologie: For Study and Practice , 2016, o. P.
  4. Ingo Wirth (ed.), Kriminalistik-Lexikon , 2011, p. 559
  5. Hans-Ludwig Kröber / Dieter Dölling / Norbert Leygraf / Henning Saß (eds.), Handbook of Forensic Psychiatry: Volume 4: Kriminologie , 2009, p. 236
  6. ^ Frank Furedi, Culture of Fear , 1997, p. 73
  7. Hans von Hentig, The Criminal and His Victim. Studies in the Sociobiology of Crime , 1948, pp. 1 ff.
  8. Stephen Schafer, The victim and his criminal , 1968, p. 46 ff.
  9. Hans J. Schneider (Ed.), Das Verbrechensopfer in der Strafrechtspflege , 1982, p. 18
  10. BGH, judgment of January 10, 2018, Az .: 2 StR 200/17 = NStZ 2018, 278
  11. ^ Walter Gropp, General Part of Criminal Law , 2015, p. 156
  12. ^ BGH, judgment of October 25, 1990, Az .: 4 StR 371/90; "Hoferbe-case" = BGHSt 37, 214 ; comparable: Rose-Rosahl case
  13. ^ Walter Gropp, Criminal Law General Part , 2015, p. 591
  14. Claus Roxin , Criminal Law General Part Volume I: Basics , 2005, § 12 Rn. 154 f.
  15. ^ Karl-Peter Julius, Code of Criminal Procedure , 2009, p. 30
  16. Federal Criminal Police Office , Police crime statistics: overview of victim tables , 2019
  17. Lyane Sautner, victim interests and criminal law theories , 2010, p. 217