Victim support in a digitised society

There are already more victims from hacking each year than from bicycle theft

On behalf of the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC) NSCR has initiated a study into victims of online criminality. The research will examine the financial and psychological impact of this growing type of criminality and the needs of victims.

Online criminality is a new and diffuse form of criminality. That is reason enough for the Ministry of Justice and Security to commission research into whether the victim support policy needs to be adjusted in this regard. Because what is the impact of online criminality on victims? What do they need from the police and the judiciary? And how do employees from the police and judiciary view victims of online criminality?

Online criminality intangible

NSCR researchers Rutger Leukfeldt, Marijke Malsch and Raoul Notté are carrying out the research. Rutger, recipient of a Veni grant for the research project The offline side of cybercriminality: ‘Online criminality can have a very different nature. For example, the perpetrator and victim do not need to see each other and it can happen on a far greater scale. That makes online criminality intangible for the victims.’

Digitised traditional criminality

The research focuses on ‘new’ crime such as hacking and ransomware, and on digitised ‘traditional’ criminality such as fraud, interpersonal offences and sexual offences. Rutger: ‘Online offences are now a very common problem. For example, in the Netherlands there are already more victims of hacking than bicycle theft each year. Online fraud, deception, and online stalking are also becoming more common. The question is whether the police and the judiciary take the online versions of traditional crimes seriously enough. At first glance, online offences do not seem to be that bad, but we know from research that the impact on a person’s life can be considerable.’

Possible change to victim support policy

The research team will also talk with the police and judiciary to gain a good overview of the situation. Rutger: ‘If such a case is received then what happens and why? We can see that that the current willingness of victims to report such crimes is low. Why is that the case and what can we do about it? We will use the research results to describe a number of scenarios. These will provide the WODC with insights into whether the existing victim support policy needs to be changed with respect to online criminality.’


The research ‘Victim support in a digitised society. Towards a recalibration of the victim support policy?’ will be completed in November 2018. Besides his work at the NSCR, Raoul Notté is also a researcher at the Hague University of Applied Sciences where the Lectorate Cybercrime in SMEs was established last year. Under the leadership of Rutger Leukfeldt the lectorate focuses on three lines of research: the digital resilience of SME entrepreneurs, insights into cyber criminality and the approach of cyber criminality aimed at SME entrepreneurs. The aim of the lectorate is to directly link science and research to everyday practice.


dr. Rutger Leukfeldt

About dr. Rutger Leukfeldt

Rutger Leukfeldt is a senior researcher Cybercrime at the NSCR and lector Cybersecurity and SMEs at The Hague University of Applied Sciences. Rutger obtained his doctorate on a study into the development and growth processes of cybercriminal networks. Rutger also carried out various cybercrime investigations in the past ten years for clients from both public and private domains. For instance, research into methods and perpetrator characteristics of cyber criminals, research into victimization of cybercrime and research into the flow of cybercrime cases within the criminal justice system. In 2015, Rutger received a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship to study the changed organization of criminal networks. In 2017 he received an NWO Veni grant to study the offline side of cyber crime. Furthermore, since 2017 he has been chairman of the Cybercrime Working Group of the European Society of Criminology.

Rutger is a member of the Cybercrime Cluster.

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