International students and crime: the influence of cultural, socioeconomic and mental health factors

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Purpose: This paper aims to show that international students may become victims and/or perpetrators of crime. This paper uses interview data to examine the social influences contributing to these incidences. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative approach using data from in-depth interviews with key informers and international students across Australia, the USA and the UK underpins this study. Findings: The results show that the interviewees generally believed that international students were not commonly perpetrators of crime. Cultural, socioeconomic and mental health factors contributed to circumstances that involved international students as perpetrators of crime. Practical implications: The practical implications of this paper are a need for the host country to provide a greater level of information about laws and local customs; need for international students need to have adequate finances; a need for international students to be made aware of the illegal practices of others, including those who belong to their national group; and a for greater awareness and support of the stresses associated with undertaking higher education in a foreign country. Originality/value: Based on primary qualitative data, this paper presents an original study about crime that looks beyond the common perception that international students are always victims. This paper focusses on the often-overlooked topic of international students as perpetrators of crime and the social influences that often underpin the circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-88
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Crime prevention and reduction
  • Culture
  • General strain theory
  • International
  • Interviews
  • Mental health
  • Mental health/disorders
  • Offenders
  • Offending
  • Policing
  • Risk
  • Socioeconomic
  • Victimisation
  • Victims

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