Female violent offenders most often target spouse or intimate partner

Among females accused of a violent offence in 2009, their most common victim was a spouse or intimate partner (46%), followed by an acquaintance (29%), stranger (14%) or other family member (12%).

By contrast, male offenders' violent offences are mostly committed against acquaintances. For example, looking at homicides from 1997 to 2009, females were most likely to kill another family member (35%) or an intimate partner (33%), whereas males were most likely to kill an acquaintance (46%), followed by an intimate partner (19%), stranger (17%) or other family member (17%).

The rate at which females have been charged with violent offences almost tripled from 1979 to 1997 and continued to increase until 2001. Since then, the rates have remained fairly stable. Rates among males increased by 71% from 1979 to 1997, and have remained fairly stable since 1998. The rise in females' violent crime rates can mostly be attributed to their charge rate for assault Level 1, which has more than doubled since the early 1990s.

Chart 7.2 Violent crime, by sex
View data source for chart 7.2

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