U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Identifying Women Who Abuse: Law Enforcement Suspect That the Number of Women Abusers is Growing

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 29 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 22-24
Corrine Streit
Date Published
August 2002
3 pages
This article discusses the fact that women are increasingly found to be physical and sexual abusers and offers some explanation of this dynamic, giving tips on how to identify a situation in which the abuser is a woman.
It is suspected that the number of women who are abusers is increasing, with statistics from the Department of Justice reporting that 70 percent of child abuse cases and 65 percent of parental murders of children are committed by mothers. It is reported that 75 percent of female sex offenders offend children for the same reasons as men. If more cases of women abusers were reported, these statistics would be higher, it is suspected. The S.A.F.E. (Stop Abuse For Everyone) organization suggests that often men do not report abuse by women because they fear being accused of the abuse themselves and losing custody of their children in the process. Also, the stereotypes of what is masculine behavior reinforce the silence of men who have been abused by women. Law enforcement officers are given information by S.A.F.E. on what to look for to identify a woman abuser, such as looking for bruises indicating fingertip grips on the woman's arms, which show the man has tried to restrain her rather than hit her. In conclusion, it is emphasized that as society changes, so must law enforcement's perception of abuse by women.