A Comparison of Male and Female Dually Arrested Domestic Violence Offenders

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This research provides information on dually arrested female defendants in domestic violence cases. The data comes from all heterosexual domestic violence cases resulting in a dual arrest from one large mid-South city during a 28-month period. Information on matched pairs of dually arrested male and female defendants (N = 317) came from multiple sources, including official criminal justice records (arrest reports and local criminal histories) as well as victim/offender interviews with both the arrestee and his/her partner. Comparisons were made between males and females in terms of their demographics, criminal histories, prior history of domestic violence (as both victim and offender), and behavior during the instant offense. Analyses revealed that these couples had ample contact, whether as victim or offender, with the criminal justice system. While there were no significant differences in partners' reports of minor and severe physical abuse, criminal justice date indicated that male arrestees demonstrated a significantly higher overall level of severity of violence than their female counterparts. Additionally, male arrestees had a more serious history of intimate partner and extrafamilial violence as well as other indicators of an antisocial lifestyle in comparison to female arrestees. To the extent that females in our cohort demonstrated less overall criminality and engaged in less severe domestic aggression, the idea of equivalency of violence between male and female arrestees must remain questionable.

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