The vast majority of violent crimes are committed by men. This statistic has been robust over time and in different populations. Around four-fifths of all violent incidents in the UK are committed by males (Home Office, 2004), and this pattern is very similar in France and Germany (Heidensohn, 1991), as well as in the United States, where recent statistics showed that 81.8 per cent of persons arrested for violent crime were male (US Department of Justice, 2007). The ratio of male to female homicide in England and Wales has remained stable at about 10:1 in recent years (Home Office, 2006). However, recent statistics suggest that overall numbers of male and female perpetrators of violent crimes against another person are increasing compared to other offences (Ministry of Justice, 2008), and more specifically, the proportion of recorded domestic violence incidents in which the offender is female has increased significantly in recent years (Home Office, 2004). As will be discussed in this chapter, the relationships between offender and victim show marked differences according to the gender of the offender — most victims of male violent perpetrators are not known to the offender, whereas the victims of violent women are most often close family members — their partners or children.
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