Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere Assess The Value Of The ‘Chivalry Thesis’ In Understanding Gender Differences In Crime

954 words - 4 pages

As item A suggests women are treated more leniently than men by the criminal justice system which is supported by the official statistics; for example women are more likely than men to be cautioned rather than prosecuted. According to the Ministry of Justice, 49% of females recorded as offending received a caution in 2007, whereas for males the figure was only 30%, this suggests that women are less likely to be sent to prison or even prosecuted in the first place. Similarly, Roger Hood’s study of over 3000 defendants found that women were about one-third less likely than males to be sent to jail. Also typically female crimes such as shoplifting are less likely to be reported. For example, ...view middle of the document...

On a sample of 1721 14-25 year olds they found that although males were more likely to offend, the difference was smaller than that recorded in the official statistics. This suggests that official statistics are not accurate as not every crime is recorded or reported; therefore suggesting that the female crime rate may be higher than it was first thought to be. Similarly, Flood-Page et al (2000) found that, while only one in 11 females self-reported offenders had been cautioned or prosecuted, the figure for males was over one in seven.
To conclude the chivalry thesis has led to the understanding that the number of females that commit crime may be higher than first thought as male criminal justice agents feel protective towards women, do not wish to cause them physical or emotional harm or upset, may feel sympathetic towards women with families leading to many women being let off with a caution and the crime is therefore not reported or recorded in the official statistics. However, there is considerable evidence against the chivalry thesis. For example, David Farrington and Alison Morris’ (1983) of sentencing of 408 offences of theft in a magistrates court found that women were not sentenced more leniently and if women appear to be treated more leniently, it may simply be because their offences are less serious and this may be why women are less likely to go to prison or even be prosecuted. For example, Steven Box’s (1981) review of British and American self-report studies concludes that women who commit serious offences are not treated more favourably than men. Women offenders also seem more likely to show remorse and this may help to explain why they are more likely to receive a caution instead of going to court. Abigail Buckle and...

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