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Female drug use and criminal behaviour

Crime facts info no. 65

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, January 2004

A report titled The Female Criminal: An Overview of Women's Drug Use and Offending Behaviour released by the Australian Institute of Criminology, provides an overview of Australian and international research on the links between women's drug use and criminal behaviour. Women's drug use is a defining factor in their participation in crime, in that the severity of their drug use is more closely related to their criminality than it is for men, particularly for activities such as prostitution and property crime. Female offenders are more likely to be incarcerated for drug offences, assault and robbery, whereas male offenders are more likely to be incarcerated for assault, robbery and unlawful entry with intent. Female drug users, particularly those who have been incarcerated, experience higher levels of abuse, economic hardship and other adversity in their lives than men.

Risk factors common to women’s drug use and criminal activity

  • Willis, K. & Rushforth, C., 2003, "The Female Criminal: An Overview of Women's Drug Use and Offending Behaviour", Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 264, Australian Institute of Criminology, Canberra.