Levels of Escape, Belief in a Just World, and Victim Blame: Contributing variables of blame attributions in kidnapping crimes
A between-subjects online survey was conducted to explore the extent to which female victims of kidnapping crimes are blamed for the crimes committed against them and why. Scenarios involving victims aged 8 years old and 30 years old were constructed using various routes of escape. Routes of escape included a control condition in which it was not clear whether or not the victim would have escaped given the opportunity, a condition in which the victim had a clear opportunity to escape and took it, a condition in which the victim had a clear opportunity to escape and chose not to take it, and a condition in which the victim did not have an opportunity to escape. The results of the study demonstrated that the 30-year old kidnapping victim was consistently blamed more than the 8-year old victim. These victim blame measurements were exacerbated when the participant maintains a high belief in a fair and just world. A second study was constructed to determine if the victim's actions preceding the kidnapping influence victim blame attributions, and to determine if providing additional details on the victim's mindset or intentions to escape would affect the amount of blame attributed.