The Gender Gap in Violent Victimization, 1973–2004

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Abstract

In this paper, data from the NCS and NCVS are developed for the purpose of describing long-term trends in male and female violent victimization for the period 1973–2004. More specifically, gender-specific trends in violence are compared according to crime type and victim–offender relationship. Despite their potential usefulness, these data have not been published previously. The data reveal that the gender gap in robbery victimization has remained relatively stable while the gender gaps in aggravated and simple assault victimization have narrowed over time. Results varied when the data were disaggregated by victim–offender relationship. Male and female rates of nonstranger simple assault and nonstranger robbery were roughly equivalent throughout the period, and the greater risk for male nonstranger aggravated assault that was evident three decades ago has largely disappeared. The gender gap persists in stranger assault, but has narrowed somewhat because male rates of victimization have declined more than female rates. In addition, male and female trends and the gender gap in nonlethal intimate partner violence differ from the patterns established in intimate partner homicide studies. The paper concludes with a discussion of research that is needed to understand why the gender gap in violent victimization has changed for some types of violence but not others, and how greater attention to gender will improve efforts to understand crime trends.

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