Although very few women commit violent crimes, evidence shows that a large number of women in prison have experienced physical and sexual violence themselves, as a child, an adult and often both.
In 2012, Dr Lillian Artz, Director of the Gender Health and Justice Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, conducted a small participatory study with a group of women prisoners in South Africa which sought to highlight the specific nature of female offending, and to explore the links between experience of abuse and women’s offending, in particular the link between child sexual abuse and so-called atypical female offences such as murder or assault, or armed robbery.
Lillian’s research is the subject of the sixth in our series of expert blogs examining some of the most interesting trends and pressing challenges in criminal justice and penal reform. The series marks PRI’s 25th anniversary year and will run from May 2014 to the United Nations Crime Congress in April 2015.
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