Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 69-80

First online:

A Comparison of Men and Women Arrested for Domestic Violence: Who Presents the Greater Threat?

  • Kris HenningAffiliated withPortland State University
  • , Lynette FederAffiliated withPortland State University

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Recent increases in the number of women arrested for domestic violence raise important questions about implementation of proarrest policies, equivalency of intimate partner aggression across genders, and management of female domestic violence offenders. This study compares demographic characteristics, criminal history variables, and the past domestic violence history of men (n = 5,578) and women (n = 1,126) arrested for domestic assault against a heterosexual intimate partner. Using victim reported information and data collected by local criminal justice agencies, we found that female arrestees were significantly less likely than males to have histories that warrant concern regarding the potential for future violence. Implications of these findings are discussed.

domestic violence marital violence female offenders gender differences mandatory arrest risk assessment