Females who Perpetrate Violent Crimes as a Proxy for, or with, an Intimate Partner
Thompson, Serena Rose
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This dissertation examined motives, intimate relationship, and childhood experiences influencing women who have committed a violent offense with or for an intimate partner. The study also explored proposed supports and resources these women need to prevent from reoffending. The theoretical framework, Radical Feminist Theory proposed that patriarchal power relations thrust women into crime through role entrapment, victimization, survival needs, and economic marginality (Steffensmeier & Allen, 1996). A phenomenological qualitative research perspective was used to reflect on the "essence of meaning" of lived experiences for 15 participants. The participants were identified using purposive, criterion sampling. Qualitative data was collected using a lengthy in-depth, semi-structured interview.;Key findings revealed that women's motives to participate in the violent crime were to sustain and protect their relationship by pleasing their partner (n=13). A criminal role typology was developed, identifying four types: The Mastermind, "Altruistic" Mastermind, Coerced Accomplice, and Compliant Accomplice. The majority of the participants (n=8) falls into the Compliant Accomplice category. Narratives provided by the Coerced Accomplices and Compliant Accomplices generated a second finding, a "recruitment process" that participants underwent at the hands of their male partners. In addition, all of the participants had an insecure attachment to their caregiver and thirteen of them had an insecure attachment to their co-offender. These results add to an understanding of preventative and treatment practices in order to reduce personal harm, the burden on correctional and judicial systems, and damage to families both victim and perpetrator.