Letter: Gender blind to the criminal mind

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your fascinating report 'Crimes of violence: birth of a solution' (8 March) suggests that young males who suffer brain damage arising from birth complication and/or early parental rejection are more likely than other young males to turn to violent crime.

What about young females? None of the researchers cited in your report appears to have thought about them. But if (as is likely) similar numbers of young females experience birth complications and early parental rejection, why is it that more than nine in 10 crimes of violence are perpetrated by males?

This would suggest that the causes of violent crime may be more complex: early childhood experience interacting with the culture of masculinity, or the ways in which boys learn to be men. As research continues into the causes of crime, perhaps we should start asking why the researchers continue to be so incorrigibly - and unproductively - gender-blind.

Your faithfully,


Hamlyn Fellow in Social Policy

Institute for Public Policy


London, WC2

8 March