Criminal statistics show that women are more victims than perpetrators of criminal acts.

Women commit fewer violent crimes than men, e.g. bodily harm, manslaughter or murder. For example, in Germany most suspects of murder are male (84.6%), of manslaughter 87.8% (Police Crime Statistics Germany 2006, chap. 2.3.1) At the same time women 45.1% victims of murder and 32.3% of manslaughter (PKS Germany 2006, chap. 3.1, table 91). This number shows that the majority of perpetrators as well as the majority of victims of violent crimes are male.

Women are at high risk of becoming victims of sexual violence like rape, sexual harassment and sexual abuse of female children. If women get killed, most of the time the attacker is known to her. 98.9% of suspects of rape are male adults who share same cultural background as victims. 95.3% of victims are female (PKS Germany 2006, chap. 322, table 91). 

But, it seems that with petty crimes, for example shoplifting, the proportion of female suspects is significantly increasing. Shoplifting in Germany is nowadays a domain of young teenagers of both sexes, even though the number of girls exceeds the number of boys aged between 14 and 16yrs (Police crime statistics Germany 2006, chap. 3.6).

But even if women are most of the time victims there is indeed a small amount of women even committing violent crimes like murder and manslaughter. For example according to German statistics 15.4% of suspected murderers are female, as well as 12.2% of manslaughter suspects. Their numbers increase in less severe crimes, even though in small numbers, but women do exert violence and abuse, batter and abuse their children and/or partners. Female perpetrators need support and/or treatment to break the circle of violence. They need to take over responsibility for their acts in the same way men have to.

In this chapter we will present some data about women in European criminal statistics and outline a historical background of women as juridical persons - which first made them subject of jurisdiction.

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European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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