Sex differences in the role of criminal behaviour in predicting violent injury
Gun violence and violent injury are major concerns in our society today, especially in urban settings. Research has demonstrated that there are specific risk factors for violent gun injury among men, but literature in this area has historically disregarded women. Previous research on men found that participation in criminal activities significantly increases risk of violent injury, but it is unknown whether criminal behaviour increases the risk of violent victimization in women. This study aims to determine whether criminal arrests differ significantly between violently injured women and women in the general population. To pursue this aim, rates of gun, drug, property, violent, and prostitution crime arrests were compared between women treated for violent injuries at a Level I Trauma Centre and women in the community at large. Chi-square analyses found that violently injured women are significantly more likely to have criminal arrests than women in the comparison population, indicating that criminal behaviour may be an important risk factor for violent injury in women. Supplementary analyses found that violent crimes contribute uniquely to the risk of violent injury in comparison to other crimes. Implications for female victims of violence are discussed.