Lethal and Other Serious Assaults: Disentangling Gender and Context


Women represent a relatively small percentage of known violent offenders, a disproportionality in offending that increases as the severity of the crime increases. The exception is intimate partner homicide where some studies find U.S. rates of offending by women approach those of men. Although the literature makes clear that significant gender differences exist in the commission of homicide, a more contextualized picture of the female offenders and the pathways leading to criminal offending does not exist. This study uses data from one state’s correctional system to examine the circumstances under which females kill or seriously assault intimate partners and, in particular, assesses the tenability of a prevailing stereotype that has been invoked to describe female intimate partner violence.

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Published in Crime & Delinquency, v. 58, no. 3, p. 425-455.

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