For questions about laws related to crime. Please add a location tag if the question is specific to a particular jurisdiction.
Criminal law, as distinct from civil-law¹, deals with the regulation of social conduct.
Where civil law generally compensates the plaintiff for damages caused as a result of misconduct, criminal law tends to be punitive.
Commonly, although a victim is required for criminal charges to be brought, it is not the victim that brings it, but the state. This reflects the notion that a transgression against the community, in addition to the individuals.
1. Civil law, in this case, refers to laws regulating private relations between members of a community, rather than the alternate