n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Empirical phenomenological research on armed robbery at residential premises : four victims' experiences

Special Edition 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This article deals with the phenomenon of armed robbery at residential premises (as a subcategory of aggravated robbery), as experienced by four individual victims in the Gauteng Province. The study sample consisted of three direct victims and one indirect victim of the specific crime. The researcher made use of face-to-face interviews and semi-structured questionnaires to gather the data. The aim of this article was to research incidents of armed robbery at residential premises, gathering "rich" and in-depth information on the physical, psychological / emotional and financial impact of the crime on the direct and indirect victims. In order to gather the required data, the researcher made use of a qualitative research approach. The empirical phenomenological research method used, included the following four steps for each case : 1. Summarising the main points of each case; 2. Illustrating and condensing of the case; 3. Describing the psychological structure; and 4. Essentially structuring the interviews in all the cases. The analyzed data supported the literature consulted regarding the consequences of victimisation. All four victims suffered extensive physical, psychological, and financial setbacks. By outlining the essential structure of the victims' experiences of armed robbery at residential premises, three key themes or common trends were identified, namely : (i) The invasion of privacy or personal space; (ii) The loss of sentimental possessions; and (iii) Fear experienced as the most significant emotion. The researcher recognised the need for further research on the themes and trends identified in this study as very little research was available from existing literature regarding these topics. In addition, it needs to be mentioned that the findings of this study may not necessarily be applicable to the Gauteng population in its entirety as qualitative research findings cannot be generalised. Nevertheless, these findings allowed the researcher to obtain a greater insight into the experiences of victims of armed robbery at residential premises, in order to enlighten and educate the reader further. By gathering information regarding the impact of these robberies, this study made a contribution to victimology in South Africa which will hopefully aid the understanding of how victims respond to crime and specifically, property and violent crimes.

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