Female Victims and Offenders Are Increasing

Subtitles

Women, homicides and violent crime.

With violence against women increasing, and with more female offenders, are women an endangered species?

Author

Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of speaking for national and state criminal justice agencies. Former Senior Specialist for Crime Prevention for the Department of Justice’s clearinghouse. Former Director of Information Services, National Crime Prevention Council. Post-Masters’ Certificate of Advanced Study-Johns Hopkins University

Article

There are a variety of reports indicating an increasing presence of women as victims and perpetrators. This article offers a summation of past research and data from a new report on women homicide victims from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.

Women Victims

First, we have a report indicating that women are now victimized at higher rates than men, see Crime in America-Women Victims.

The FBI (in 2014) and the National Crime Survey (in 2015) reports more female than male victims. Traditionally, males have higher rates of violent crime victimization than females.

Female Offenders

Second, we have data indicating that female offenders are an increasing percentage of correctional populations.

The female local jail population increased 48% between 1999 and 2013, from 68,100 to 100,940.

About 25 percent of probationers were female in 2014, up from 22 percent in 2000.

The number of females sentenced to more than one year in state or federal prison increased by almost two percent between 2013 and 2014. This was the largest number of female prison inmates since 2008.

Since 2010, the female jail population has been the fastest growing correctional population, increasing by an average annual rate of 3.4 percent, see Crime in America-Women Offenders.

History of Victimization

The overwhelming majority of women in prison are survivors of domestic violence. Three-quarters have histories of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner during adulthood, and 82% suffered serious physical or sexual abuse as children, see Crime in America-Women Offenders.

CDC Report

Finally, we have a new report from the Center for Disease Control stating that homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women.

Over half of all homicides (55.3%) were intimate partner violence related.

Approximately one in 10 victims experienced some form of violence in the month preceding their death.

Observations

The women offenders I interviewed throughout my career routinely told me that they were the victims of violence as children and as adults.

At one correctional facility, several women offenders stated that they were reluctant to return to society; they felt safer and better cared for incarcerated. For the first time, many were getting an education, a trade, and decent medical care.

As a police officer, it was obvious that domestic violence was a daily part of our job. It was also apparent that too many women were beaten routinely.

When I was a spokesperson for parole and probation agencies offering domestic violence classes, the counselors often told me that male offenders were confused by the insistence that they never hit or abuse their female victims again. As far as many offenders were concerned, they had the right to use violence in their relationships.

Many within the criminological community are increasingly concerned by the rise in female victims, offenders, and the underlying factors of massive child abuse and violence.

Society needs to be told that violence towards women, whether it be in the form of intimate partner violence, music, the “entertainment” industry or other aspects of society are repugnant. Prevention is an issue for the larger culture, not the criminal justice system.

New CDC Report

Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women aged younger than 44 years.

In 2015, homicide caused the death of 3,519 girls and women in the United States.

Rates of female homicide vary by race/ethnicity, and a current or former male intimate partner kills nearly half of victims.

To inform homicide and intimate partner violence (IPV) prevention efforts, CDC analyzed homicide data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) among 10,018 women aged ≥18 years in 18 states during 2003–2014.

The frequency of homicide by race/ethnicity and precipitating circumstances of homicides associated with and without intimate partner violence were examined.

Non-Hispanic black and American Indian/Alaska Native women experienced the highest rates of homicide (4.4 and 4.3 per 100,000 population, respectively).

Over half of all homicides (55.3%) were intimate partner violence related; 11.2% of victims of intimate partner violence related homicide experienced some form of violence in the month preceding their deaths, and argument and jealousy were common precipitating circumstances.

Targeted intimate partner violence prevention programs for populations at disproportionate risk and enhanced access to intervention services for persons experiencing intimate partner violence are needed to reduce homicides among women.

Intimate partner violence related deaths were defined as those involving intimate partner homicides (i.e., the victim was an intimate partner [e.g., current, former, or unspecified spouse or girlfriend] of the suspect), other deaths associated with intimate partner violence, including victims who were not the intimate partner (i.e., family, friends, others who intervened in intimate partner violence, first responders, or bystanders), or jealousy.

Deaths where jealousy, such as in a lovers’ triangle, was noted as a factor were included only when they involved an actual relationship (versus unrequited interest).

Violence experienced in the preceding month refers to all types of violence (e.g., robbery, assault, or IPV) that was distinct and occurred before the violence that killed the victim; there did not need to be any causal link between the earlier violence and the death itself (e.g., victim could have experienced a robbery by a stranger 2 weeks before being killed by her spouse).

From 2003 through 2014, a total of 10,018 female homicides were captured by NVDRS; among these, 1,835 (18.3%) were part of a homicide-suicide incident (i.e., suspect died by suicide after perpetrating homicide).

The overall age-adjusted homicide rate was 2.0 per 100,000 women. By race/ethnicity, non-Hispanic black women had the highest rate of dying by homicide (4.4 per 100,000), followed by American Indian/Alaska Native (4.3), Hispanic (1.8), non-Hispanic white (1.5), and A/PI women (1.2).

Approximately one-third of female homicide victims (29.4%) were aged 18–29 year; a larger proportion of non-Hispanic black and Hispanic victims were in this youngest age group than were non-Hispanic white and A/PI victims.

The largest proportion of victims were never married or single at the time of death (38.2%); this proportion was highest among non-Hispanic black victims (59.2%). One-third of victims had attended some college or more; history of college attendance was highest among non-Hispanic white (36.8%) and A/PI victims (46.2%).

Approximately 15% of women of reproductive age (18–44 years) were pregnant or ≤6 weeks postpartum.

Firearms were used in 53.9% of female homicides, most commonly among non-Hispanic black victims (57.7%).

Sharp instrument (19.8%); hanging, suffocation, or strangulation (10.5%); and blunt instrument (7.9%) were other common mechanisms. Over half of all female homicides (55.3%) for which circumstances were known were intimate partner violence related. A larger percentage of intimate partner violence related female homicides were perpetrated by male suspects than were non-IPV-related homicides (98.2% versus 88.5%).

Circumstance information was known for all 4,442 intimate partner violence related homicides and 3,586 (64.3%) non-intimate partner violence related homicides and was examined further.

Among intimate partner violence related homicides, 79.2% and 14.3% were perpetrated by a current or former intimate partner, respective.

Approximately one in 10 victims experienced some form of violence in the month preceding their death. However, only 11.2% of all intimate partner violence related homicides were precipitated by another crime; 54.4% of these incidents involved another crime in progress.

The most frequently reported other precipitating crimes were assault/homicide (45.6%), rape/sexual assault (11.1%), and burglary (9.9%).

In 29.7% of intimate partner violence related homicides, an argument preceded the victim’s death; this occurred more commonly among Hispanic victims than among non-Hispanic black and white victims.

Approximately 12% of intimate partner violence related homicides were associated with jealousy; this circumstance was also documented more commonly among Hispanic victims than among non-Hispanic black and white victims.

Among non-intimate partner violence related female homicides with known suspects, the victim’s relationship to the suspect was most often that of acquaintance (19.7%), stranger (15.7%), another person known to the victim in which the exact nature of the relationship or prior interaction was unclear (15.2%), or parent (15.2).

Non-Hispanic black victims were significantly more likely to be killed by an acquaintance (29.0%) than were non-Hispanic white victims (14.9%).

A/PI and Hispanic victims were significantly more likely to be killed by a stranger (28.6% and 24.1%, respectively) than were non-Hispanic white victims (13.9%).

Fewer than 2% of non-IPV related homicide victims experienced violence during the preceding month (data not shown). However, a substantial percentage of these homicides (41.6%) were precipitated by another crime; 67.2% of these incidents involved another crime in progress.

The type of other precipitating crime was most frequently robbery (31.1%), assault/homicide (21.3%), burglary (12.2%), or rape/sexual assault (11.2%).

Female homicides involving A/PI victims were more likely to be precipitated by another crime (57.0%) than were homicides involving non-Hispanic black (40.7%) and Hispanic (35.4%) victims. In 37.8% of non-intimate partner violence related homicides, an argument preceded the victim’s death, more commonly among AI/AN (47.8%) and non-Hispanic black (41.1%) victims than among A/PI (25.6%) victims.Top

Discussion

Homicide is the most severe health outcome of violence against women. Findings from this study of female homicides from NVDRS during 2003–2014 indicate that young women, particularly racial/ethnic minority women, were disproportionately affected.

Across all racial/ethnic groups of women, over half of female homicides for which circumstances were known were intimate partner violence related, with >90% of these women being killed by their current or former intimate partner.

Strategies to prevent intimate partner violence related homicides range from protecting women from immediate harm and intervening in current IPV, to developing and implementing programs and policies to prevent IPV from occurring.

IPV lethality risk assessments conducted by first responders have shown high sensitivity in identifying victims at risk for future violence and homicide. These assessments might be used to facilitate immediate safety planning and to connect women with other services, such as crisis intervention and counseling, housing, medical and legal advocacy, and access to other community resources.

State statutes limiting access to firearms for persons under a domestic violence restraining order can serve as another preventive measure associated with reduced risk for intimate partner homicide and firearm intimate partner homicide.

Approximately one in 10 victims of IPV-related homicide experienced some form of violence in the preceding month, which could have provided opportunities for intervention.

In health care settings, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening women of childbearing age for IPV and referring women who screen positive for intervention services.

Approximately 15% of female homicide victims of reproductive age (18–44 years) were pregnant or postpartum, which might or might not be higher than estimates in the general U.S. female population, requiring further examination.

Approximately 40% of non-Hispanic black, AI/AN, and Hispanic female homicide victims were aged 18–29 years. Argument and jealousy were common precipitating factors for intimate partner violence related homicides. Teaching safe and healthy relationship skills is an important primary prevention strategy with evidence of effectiveness in reducing IPV by helping young persons manage emotions and relationship conflicts and improve their problem-solving and communication skills.

Preventing IPV also requires addressing the community- and system-level factors that increase the risk for IPV; neighborhoods with high disorder, disadvantage, and poverty, and low social cohesion are associated with increased risk of IPV, and underlying health inequities caused by barriers in language, geography, and cultural familiarity might contribute to homicides, particularly among racial/ethnic minority women.

Source

CDC

Contacts

Crime in America at http://crimeinamerica.net

Contact us at crimeinamerica@gmail.com.

Media on deadline, use leonardsipes@gmail.com.


My book: “Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization,” is available at Amazon

https://amzn.com/151948965X

This is an ad-free website.

Reviews are appreciated.


 

FacebookTwitterGoogle+PinterestTumblrStumbleUponRedditLinkedIn