Females and Violent Crime

There is evidence that there has been no change in women’s involvement in violent crime:

  • In the USA, sociologists found the increase in the official statistics was not matched by the finding of victim surveys or self-report studies.
  • Net Widening- they argue that the increase is due to the justice system. Prosecuting females for less serious violence than previously. Sharpe noted a trend in the UK towards prosecuting females for minor offences. This trend is an example of what Young calls ‘defining deviance up’ to catch trivial offences in the net.
  • The increase in female convictions may be due to a media-inspired moral panic about young women being out of control. Sharper found that CJS professionals were influenced by media stereotypes of violent ‘laddettes’ which led to an amplification spiral resulting in more convictions and producing further negative media coverage.

Gender and victimisation

Victim surveys such as the Crime Survey for England and Wales show gender differences in victimisation and in the relationship between victim and offender.

More men than women are victims of violence or homicide but more women than men are victims of intimate violence. 10x more women reported having been sexually assaulted but only 8% of females who are sexually assaulted actually report it, Women have a greater fear of crime but the CSEW shows that they are at less risk. However, some local surveys have found women are in fact at greater risk.