While the majority of cases of deadly violence are committed by men, women too have had their roles in acts of crime. But the women who commit deadly violence are different in many ways from male perpetrators, says a study.
The characteristics of male and female perpetrators differ in terms of the most common victims, the way in which the murder is committed, the place where it is carried out and the perpetrator's background, researchers revealed.
The findings, reported in the International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, are based on investigations carried out over time in Sweden that belongs to the group of countries with the lowest number of murders per capita.
The data covered all cases of deadly violence in Sweden during the years between 1990 and 2010. There were 1570 cases of deadly violence committed during the observed time period, and of them 1420 were committed by men (90.4 per cent) and 150 by women (9.6 per cent).
The gender distribution of the perpetrators was stable throughout the investigation period.
"There were more pronounced differences between male and female perpetrators with adult victims compared with when the victim was a child (under 15 years)," said one of the researchers Thomas Nilsson, Researcher at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
"The adult victims of female perpetrators were more often male and an intimate partner. The victims were often under the influence of substances at the time of the crime and they died mostly due to knife violence,” Nilsson noted.
Another difference was that previous violence between the victim and the perpetrator was more common in cases of female perpetrators than male perpetrators, and that women more frequently committed crimes in the home environment.
The home was the most common murder scene for all cases but it was even more common for female perpetrators, where the murder took place in the home in nearly nine out of 10 cases, the study showed.