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A society that is unable to respect, protect and nurture its women and

children loses its moral moorings and runs adrift.

Female crime, by definition, refers to the crimes committed by women. It corresponds
with the male crime, and is a crime classification which is made from a gender
perspective. The main purpose of this classification is to explore the causes of female
crime and make positive prevention. In recent years, the absolute number and relative
ratio of female crime has increased yearly which can not be ignored. And there is a trend
towards younger age-crime and organized crime. Female crime has seriously affected the
marriage and family stability and social development. In this context, it is particularly
necessary to discuss the reasons for female crime and bring forward the corresponding
control measures

The Causes of Female Crime

The personal causes
Compared with male offenders, female offenders are on a low level of education. A lot of
female offenders are illiterate or semi-literate. They havent social knowledge and
experience, and their survival skills are poor. They lack analytical skills in dealing with
problems, and they are not sensible to deal with things. When they are instigated or
enticed by others, they are easy to be coerced or deceived, going astray, and beginning
their life of crime. Because of the low level of education, their legal awareness is
relatively weak. When they have been violated by unlawful infringements, they can not
look at and solve the problems from a legal perspective, but take extreme and violent and
lawless ways to solve the problems. For example, some women themselves are victims of
domestic violence, but they do not know how to use the law to protect them. They fight
violence with violence, and when they can not endure domestic violence, they will kill
the perpetrators. And their will be perpetrators. In addition, psychological factors such as
vanity, unrealistically compare, hedonism, narrow-minded, vindictive and so on also
contributes to an important cause of female crime.
The family causes

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is one of the main reasons of female crime. Survey shows that 70% of
women offenders have suffered domestic violence for a long time before they commit a
crime. The Causes of domestic violence include: 1st, in some families, because women
do not work and have no source of income and has no place in the family, they often
subject to her husband's beatings. 2nd, Husband has a macho idea that husband is
superior to his wife and he beats his wife frequently. 3rd, the wife has the mentality of

"not wash your dirty linen in public" and endures domestic violence repeatedly. 4th, the
relief mechanism is not perfect. According to the survey, 23.6% of women sought help
from her family or friends or the organizations, however, 15.6% of the people who were
been sought for ignored their request or persuaded them not to make public. This
unrestricted domestic violence turned to be further intensified, and the wife turned toward
the extreme revenge.

The imbalance of the family structure

The imbalance of the family structure means that the main structural component of the
family is not complete which include the fault family and deformity family. These kinds
of families are prone to family tensions, and lead to the occurrence of crimes. The fault
families include grandfather- grandson families and the families which marriage is not a
complete, such as divorce, widowhood, separation, imprisonment and so on. In the
grandfather- grandson families, because of the lack of parental care and discipline, young
people tend to form a twisted character. The breakdown of the marriage relationship is
a serious psychological blow to women, and it will make psychological crisis. And if
there is not a timely manner to ease the psychological crisis, some women will commit
crimes. The deformity family mainly refers to unmarried cohabitation family, or the
temporary family which made by extramarital love. This kind of family is lack of legal
protection, and naturally lack of family stability. It is difficult to establish mutual trust
because of the lack of responsibility between men and women. So violence affairs
and sex murder can easily be triggered.

The imperfection in family education

Family environment and family education is essential for healthy growth of youngsters.
Proper family values and moral values can correctly guide the development of young
people; enable them to move ahead in the right direction in life. Because of the
incomplete family structure, such as parental separation, parental death, children are lack
of normal family care, and they are easy to been received and cheated by bad guys. The
abnormal family relations such as marital and emotional crisis also are likely to produce
depression and tension to children. They are easy to develop a strong dissatisfaction to
family and social, and then make an extreme move.
The social causes

The imperfect of legal system

First, the legislations are deficient. China's current laws are still significant deficient to
combat domestic violence. Legal subject responsibility of the government is not clearly
defined; the responsibilities and tasks of the ministry of public security and civil Affairs
and other relevant functional departments are unclear. China hasnt formed a long-term

mechanism to prevent and combat domestic violence, particularly legal mechanisms. As

the most important legislation to protect women's rights, the part of the penalty of the
"Women's Rights Protection Act" is too unspecific. Many legal provisions do not have
Maneuverability. It makes the law become "dead law" which hasnt effectiveness.
Second, the law enforcement is ineffective. Although the "Constitution", the "Labor
Law", the "Education Law" and other laws provide equal rights for citizens, women still
get of a lot of discrimination and restrictions in employment, and the phenomenon that
women's legal rights are violated still exists. Women's education level was significantly
lower than men. Article 48 of the "Women's Rights Protection Act" states: when
women's rights are violated, they have the right to request the relevant competent
authorities to handle the affairs, and they can complain to the women's organizations. But
the reality is that the relevant departments are to be evasive, or mistakenly believe that"
even an upright official finds it hard to settle a family quarrel ", and ignore the behaviors
that violate women's rights and interests.

The influence of unhealthy social phenomenon

With the economic development and social transformation, a variety of unhealthy trends
and phenomenon, such as mistresses, extramarital affairs, illegal cohabitation, is on
gradual increase. By the erosion of these unhealthy ways and customs, a part of the
female can not maintain the correct values and world outlook when they are in the face of
the temptation of money. Some highly educated women have gradually relaxed their
requirements and go into the abyss of crime. And with the widening social gap between
rich and poor, very few female has not a well-balanced mentality and love ease and hate
work. This makes the female crime have considerable space.

The spread of junk culture

With the rapid development of society, all kinds of media have developed rapidly. But as
well as they provide lots of convenience to people, they also bring a huge negative impact
as well. At present, the social media especially the Internet has much junk cultures such
as pornography, violence, and terror and murder. These junk cultures have a profound
impact on part of female with the dependent psychology. Due to the low educational level
and the poor cognitive ability of things, they are vulnerable to been suggested, and
embark on the road of degeneration and crime.

What are the Causes of Female Crime?

Darie Klein (The Etiology of Female Crime: A Review of the Literature, 1973) offered a summary of
much of the literature on causes of female crime discussed by Lombroso, W.I. Thomas, Kingsley
Davis, and Otto Pollak.
According to Klein, the shared assumptions running through the works of all these persons include
the proposition that female crime is the result of physiological or psychological characteristics of
individuals, with little or no recognition being given to the importance of social-structural factors.
These physiological or psychological traits of women offenders were usually viewed as pathological
distortions or departures from the normal, inherent nature of women.
As per this view, these females were seen as disposed towards characteristics such as aggressiveness
which is a violation of their true nature. Individual counseling was therefore suggested for crime
control, through which errant women could be drawn back into 'proper' feminine behaviour.
Freud (Cf. Simon, Women and Crime, 1975: 2-9) offered a physiological explanation of female
criminality holding that normal women accept and internalise societal definitions of femininity but
women criminals suffer from 'masculinity complex'.
Thus, normal women exhibit 'normal' feminine traits but criminal women exhibit perversion of or
rebellion against the biologically natural female role. Critics have described these arguments as
defective because they contain erroneous assumptions about biological characteristics of women.
W.I. Thomas (The Unadjusted Girl, 1923) described female deviancy as departure from conduct that
is biologically and psychologically 'normal' for women.
Kingsley Davis ("Sociology of Prostitution", in American Sociological Review, October 1937)
presented a functionalist interpretation of prostitution, arguing that it arises in circumstances where
demands for sexual novelty cannot be supplied within the framework of damage and/or where some
males are cut off from access to sexual partners because they are unmarried or are at a sexually
competitive disadvantage.
Commercial prostitution arises as a black-market in sex. The problem with this theory is that it
supports the thesis that the only proper role for women is that of a child-bearer and housewife.
Pollak (The Criminality of Women, 1950) asserts that women crimes are characterised by deceit and
double standards. Just as physical weakness forces a woman to resort to deception, the use of
physical charm enables her to attract the victim.

Poisoning a child or an adult at home, sexual crimes, shoplifting and other thefts, abortions, etc. are
easily hidden by them.
Greater freedom has allowed them to enter new positions and new roles, thereby giving them more
opportunities for participation in crime. Maintaining double standards by women also helps create
female crime because it leads to frustrations and envy on their part.
It pushes them to false accusation against men (charges of rape, for example). However, Pollak's
propositions are not based on any evidence. In fact, some statements made by him are described as
ridiculous and biased. Pollak has paid more attention to petty crimes committed by them and
ignored their serious crimes like murder, robbery, etc.
Freda Adler (op. cit., 1975) studied prostitution, drug addiction, and juvenile delinquency among
females. She has attributed these crimes to the liberation movement of women and women's
She contends that educated girls and women are more willing than ever to challenge traditional
restrictions and social roles. The easing of restraints on women is further likely to increase female
Empirical studies conducted on female crime in India have by and large supported this author's
etiological explanation. B.R. Sharma (1963) concluded in his study that strained interpersonal
relations with husband and other family members, husband's extra-family relations, deprivation and
denial of basic needs of life (like affection, security, etc.) were the main causes of frustrations and
ultimate crimes.
Rani Bilmoria (1980) and Sohoni Neera Kuckreja (1986) also supported this author's theory of family
maladjustment as cause of female crime. Let me, therefore, analyse my study on female crime and
discuss the hypothesis regarding the role of "family maladjustment" or "role conflict in family" in
female criminality. We will first examine the crime of murder.
My study revealed that in 77 per cent cases, the victim was the member of the offender's family, in 5
per cent cases, he/she had kinship relationship with the criminal, in 9 per cent cases, he/she was her
neighbour, in 8 per cent, he/she was the member of her village community, and in less than 1 per
cent cases, he/she was a complete stranger.
This shows that in 99 per cent cases, the female offender had primary relationship with the victim.
Of the 77 per cent cases in which the victim was a member of the respondent's family in 92.2 per cent
cases, he (the victim) was a member of respondents family of procreation and only in 7.S per cent
cases, was he a member of the family of orientation.

Of the 92.2 per cent cases in which the victim was a member of the female criminal's family of
procreation, in 57.9 per cent cases, the victim was ego's husband, in 18.9 per cent cases, ego's own
child, in 4.2 per cent cases, ego's secondary kin (SoWi, SoSo) and in 19 per cent cases, ego's
husband's primary or secondary kin.
This fact of the victim being usually a kin or a close associate of the offender in crimes of murder was
also discovered by Bullock (1955: 572) in his study of urban homicides in Texas, by Svalastoga (1956:
40) in his study of 172 Danish cases, and by Sutherland (1950: 548) in his study of 324 murders by
females. Wolfgang (1958: 212), however, had found such relationship only in 23.13 per cent cases in
his study of 588 homicides in Philadelphia.
In the cases where the victim was the respondent's own child, the murder was committed either
because the child was illegitimate or the woman was afraid of social ostracism, or in a moment of
extreme danger because of an altercation with the husband.
Thus, in about four-fifths cases, husband-wife relationship proved quite an important factor in the
causation of murder.
In 45.5 per cent cases, the cause was illicit relations of the offender with some man; in 10.9 per cent
cases, it was illicit relations of the victim with some woman; and in 27.3 per cent cases, it was conflict
with husband and/or ill-treatment by husband. This proves the validity of our hypothesis of family
maladjustment as the main cause of female criminality.
Not only in murders but also in other crimes, family was found to be an important factor in
criminality. For example, in excise offences, when husband was arrested for illicit distillation, his
wife too was arrested for helping the husband in illegal activities.
In these cases, the wife merely helped her husband in his economic pursuits because of her dharma
(religious duty) and not because of any desire to violate the social or legal norms.
Similarly, in one case of theft (in which 4 men and 3 women of a Gujar family were arrested,
convicted and given one year's imprisonment), the male members of one Gujar family stole the cows
and buffaloes of other Gujar family with which they had a family feud.
While returning from the village with the animals, they were arrested by the police. Since women
accompanied men, they too were arrested and penalised.
This case also shows that women were labelled 'criminals' not because they had 'criminalist
tendencies' but because their family male members were so labelled. My contention is that most of
the thefts committed by women are not the result of psychological or social aberrations but are due
to family and economic compulsions.

Women convicted for minor thefts are mainly housewives who usually lack money to be able to buy
things which were later stolen. Many a time, they steal to 'stretch their budgets'. The lower-class
social status of women convicted for thievery is a further proof of our hypothesis.
In crimes of above types, women arrested play secondary/supportive roles. Their involvement in the
offence is closely tied to woman's role as a wife. They seem to commit crimes in roles auxiliary to
men, in keeping with their sex roles. They are, therefore, not to be treated as sole perpetrators of
these crimes. Our hypothesis regarding the role of family in female criminality is thus fully justified.
Simon (1975) and Adler (1977) have explained the recent increase in the incidence of female crime in
terms of the breakdown of prevailing patterns of 'sexual inequality'. According to Simon, increased
labour-force participation of women and other developments in the direction of sexual equality have
expanded the crime opportunities and pressures towards law-breaking among women.
According to Adler, a growing trend towards female assertiveness, manifested in the contemporary
women's movement in the United States as well as in other ways, has led to consequences in the area
of criminality.
These explanations do not explain crime situation in India in spite of the fact that in our country too
there is a Women's Liberation Movement. But this movement is confined to the urban areas whereas
a large number of female criminals in our society come from the rural areas where women never talk
of equal rights with men and there is no breakdown of sexual inequality.
We, therefore, cannot hold the view that in India as labour-force participation increases,
opportunities to engage in criminality would expand for women as well.
Could we examine 'adult female crime' in terms of factors offered for explaining 'delinquency in
young or adolescent girls'?
Some of the factors suggested are: family tensions or 'under-the-roof culture' (Gibbons, 1976: 169),
self-concept deficiencies and perceptions of lack of opportunity (Datesman et al., 1975: 107),
excessive weight or other physical problems (Cowie et al., 1982).
My contention is that it is not the physical and psychological factors which account for female crime
but it is the non-harmony and instability in family relationships or disintegration of family life which
mainly explain crime among women.