Recently in Female Violence Category

August 6, 2008

British "Ladettes" on the Rampage

The value of the British Pound as compared to the U.S. dollar isn't the only item on the rise --  recent studies indicate that the rate of violent crimes committed by British girls is at an all-time high. In 2007, violent crimes replaced theft as the most common type of crime committed by British girls under the age of 18. "Ladette Louts" is the popular term used to refer to girls arrested for committing violent crimes, as the attacks are often associated with increased binge drinking. Support for the argument that excessive drinking by girls in the U.K. is associated with the rise in violent crime comes from studies indicating that the number of women arrested for being drunk and disorderly in public has doubled in the past 5 years. The recent high-profile case of a girl videotaping a fatal "happy slapping" incident has once again put this issue in the spotlight in the U.K. press.

But are the same trends occurring in the U.S.? Some guidance is provided by a study issued in May 2008, conducted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, entitled "Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context". The study indicates that for the period between 1996 and 2005, the number of girls arrested for aggravated assaults (generally, assaults involving weapons or produicing injuries) dropped by 5.4%. Ironically, the number of girls arrested during the same period for simple assaults actually increased by 24%. (Family members, especially mothers, are the most common target of girls' aggressive behavior.) The report concludes that "there is no burgeoning national crisis of increasing serious violence among adolescent girls." Moreover, though the study mentions a number of factors associated with violence by girls, alcohol is not mentioned at all. Thus, the stories of female teenage violence in the U.K. and the U.S. appear to be very different.