The rise of crimes perpetrated by women in Australia has become an interesting new talking point in the Australian media industry, and the correlation of facts in regards to motivation for these crimes has produced some interesting theories.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics released a report in 2013 identifying a 66% rise in female convictions over the past decade, recording more than double the growth rate of male prisoners. This abrupt rise has led Criminologist, Professor Kenneth Polk, to discuss the topic of increased rates of crime within the female population and reasons as to why we have seen such a rise in convictions.
Polk identifies harsher current sentencing laws; than they were twenty years ago, as the major reason there has been a rise in female convictions. “Basically women are serving longer sentences for minor crimes rather than serving suspended sentences or carrying out community service.” Polk goes on to say that women in the Northern Territory are skewing results as “they go to jail more frequently on minor offenses but spend less time incarcerated”.
Polk highlighted mental health as another possible contributor to an increase in Female convictions, as the increased rate of mental health issues in Australia could share a relationship with more crimes carried out by women.
Polk’s theory identifies that women having greater independence, tied with mental health issues, can lead to more violent crimes. “Women today are more willing or equipped and therefore more likely to commit a crime than ever before”.
“Half of the women studied suffered domestic violence and one0-third suffered sexual abuse so if we’re looking for a reason or underlying cause, emotional suffering or mental health issues would be high on the list.”
The increased rate of violent crime, including a distinct rise in homicides and organised crime, was also prominent within mental health sufferers “violent crime is outpacing non-violent crime amongst women which may suggest that crimes committed by mental health sufferers are likely to be more aggressive and more violent.” Polk said.
Many other factors including drug and alcohol abuse, the will to rather retaliate than report crimes performed upon them, and also the exploitation of new technology have all been interrelated with such a dramatic change in the female populous “we believe women are more likely to their own form of punishment in retaliation than report the crime…women are active in cyber-fraud that was non-existent twenty years ago.”
The notion of equity within women’s rights and the pressures of every day obstacles have also come under scrutiny as potential catalysts for change, however the prevalence of mental issues are being portrayed as the forefront pre-curser in the development of criminal activity.
Quotes taken from interview transcript performed by Alexandra Talifero.