Earlier editions: Women in the criminal justice system 2009-10
Biennial statistics on the representation of females and males as victims, suspects, offenders and employees in the Criminal Justice System.
These reports are released by the Ministry of Justice and produced in accordance with arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
This report provides information about how females and males were represented in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) in the most recent year for which data were available, and, wherever possible, across the last five years. Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 requires the Government to publish statistical data to assess whether any discrimination exists in how the CJS treats people based on their gender.
These statistics are used by policy makers, the agencies who comprise the CJS and others (e.g. academics) to monitor differences between females and males, and to
highlight areas where practitioners and others may wish to undertake more in-depth analysis. The identification of differences should not be equated with discrimination as there are many reasons why apparent disparities may exist.
Women as victims of crime
The most recent data show differences in the level and types of victimisation between females and males. Key findings:
- The 2011/12 CSEW estimated three in every 100 adults were a victim of violent crime. As in previous years, a smaller proportion of women than men interviewed reported being victims of violence (2% versus 4% in the 2011/12 CSEW).
- The 2011/12 CSEW self-completion module on intimate violence showed that a greater proportion of women (7%) reported being victims of intimate violence than men (5%).
- Findings from the child component of the 2011/12 CSEW showed that, in the 12 months prior to interview, a smaller proportion of girls (aged 10 to 15) reported being victims of violence than boys (5% per cent versus 11%).
- Data from the Homicide Index showed that fewer females (201) than males (435) were victims of homicide in 2010/11. As in the previous four years, a greater proportion of female than male victims knew the principal suspect (78% and 57% respectively in 2010/11).
Women as suspects
Fewer than one in five arrests recorded by the police in 2010/11 and in the preceding four years involved females. Key findings:
- Between 2006/07 and 2010/11, there was an 8% reduction in the number of arrests by police forces in England and Wales (from 1,482,156 to 1,360,451). There was a 13% decrease for females and a 7% decrease for males.
Women as defendants
Data on out of court disposals and court proceedings showed some differences in the types of disposals issued to males and females, and also in sentence lengths.
These may relate to a range of factors including variations in the types of offences committed.
- In 2011, females accounted for 24% of the 127,530 PNDs and 24% of the 231,483 cautions administered to individuals of known gender. Retail theft (under £200) was the most common offence type for which females were issued a PND (54% of PNDs issued to females), and drunk and disorderly for males (31% of PNDs issued to males).
- Overall, 1,246,320 persons of known gender were convicted and sentenced at all courts in 2011; again 24% were female and 76% were male.
- Theft and handling stolen goods (which includes shoplifting) was the most common indictable offence group for which both females and males were sentenced at all courts between 2007 and 2011 (52% of females and 33% of males sentenced for indictable offences in 2011).
- Overall, a higher proportion of all males than all females were sentenced to immediate custody in 2011 (10% versus 3%), and females more commonly received a fine (77% versus 61% of males). These patterns were also consistent in the four preceding years.
- The average custodial sentence length (ACSL) for all indictable offences was consistently higher for males than for females between 2007 and 2011 (in 2011, 17.7 months for males compared to 11.6 months for females).
Women as offenders: under supervision or in custody
Across the five year period, there were substantially fewer women than men both under supervision and in prison custody. A greater proportion of women were also serving shorter sentences than men, which is again likely to be attributable to a range of factors including differences in the offence types committed by men and women. Key findings:
The bulletin is produced and handled by the ministry’s analytical professionals and production staff. Pre-release access of up to 24 hours is granted to the following persons:
Ministry of Justice: Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice; Minister of State Criminal Justice; Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Justice; Minister of State and Deputy Leader of the House of Lords; Minister for Equalities; four Press Officers; two Special Advisors; Head of Sentencing and Rehabilitation - Youth Justice and Women; Policy official on Victims; Policy official on PNDs; Policy official on Cautions;
Policy official on Sentencing; two Policy officials on Women, official on Judicial Policy.
National Offender Management Service: Lead on Women offenders.
Home Office: Home Secretary; Home Office Statistician; Home Office Press Officer; Policy official for Violence Against Women; Policy official on Police Productivity.
Judiciary: Senior Presiding Judge and Lord Chief Justice.
Other Ministry of Justice publications containing statistics (quarterly and annual) on gender
Criminal Justice Statistics
Offender Management Statistics Quarterly
Safety in Custody