Gender differences in violent offending: results from a multicentre comparison study in Dutch forensic psychiatry [2018]

The past two decades, a disproportionate growth of females entering the criminal justice system and forensic mental health services has been observed worldwide. However, there is a lack of knowledge on the background of women who are convicted for violent offenses. What is their criminal history, what are their motives for offending and in which way do they differ from men convicted for violent offenses? In this study, criminal histories and the offenses for which they were admitted to forensic care were analyzed of 218 women and 218 men who have been treated between 1984 and 2014 with a mandatory treatment order in one of four Dutch forensic psychiatric settings admitting both men and women. It is concluded that there are important differences in violent offending between male and female patients. Most importantly, female violence was more often directed towards their close environment, like their children, and driven by relational frustration. Furthermore, female patients received lower punishments compared to male patients and were more often considered to be diminished accountable for their offenses due to a mental illness.

Vivienne de Vogel & Eva de Spa
Psychology, Crime & Law, 09 Dec 2018