Women's violent crimes increasing

JASON BENNETTO

Crime Correspondent

More women are committing violent crimes, particularly street robbery, burglary and fighting, prison staff have reported.

There is increasing concern among prison and probation workers at the rising trend, particularly among women aged 21 and under who they fear are being "corrupted" by more hardened criminals. They believe part of the problem is the result of neglect, abuse and drug or alcohol addiction.

In the past decade the number of women found guilty or cautioned for an offence involving violence against the person has nearly doubled to 9,400. The sharp rise has also been accompanied by a shift towards greater use of cautioning from about a quarter of offences to nearly three-quarters.

The average daily prison population of women jailed for violent crimes has jumped in the past two years from 240 during June 1992 to 360 in the same period last year.

The Prison Service is considering setting up specialist units within jails to deal with young women involved in violence following warnings from officers and probation workers, who have also noted an increasing trend in which young women have attacked boyfriends and friends.

In the majority of the violence cases there is a history of sexual abuse, often followed by a period of prostitution and involvement in drugs.

The surge in the number of young women aged 16 and 17 being jailed has resulted in some teenagers being held in adult prisons with serious criminals because of lack of room in young offender institutions.

The Prison Service predicts that by Christmas the female jail population will increase by 200 to 2,200. However, the number of violent female offenders is still tiny compared to the total prison population of about 51,714.

Violence against the person includes murder, manslaughter, wounding, grievous bodily harm, actual bodily harm, death by dangerous driving, infanticide and poisoning. One well-publicised case involving violence was the mugging of the model, Elizabeth Hurley, by four teenage girls last November.

Harry Fletcher, assistant general secretary of the National Association of Probation Officers, said: "The image of amoral female gangs is wide of the mark. There has been a rise of 50 per cent in the number of women jailed for violence in the last three years, but the reasons are complex. The majority of the group are characterised by neglect, personal abuse, drug or alcohol abuse and low self- esteem. Many have themselves been the victims of violence. The problem needs help rather than incarceration."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager - Part Time

£16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital agency based in Ashford, Ke...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Marketing Executive

£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent