Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminal Justice


Mindy S. Bradley

Committee Member

Rodney L. Engen

Second Committee Member

Jeffrey A. Gruenewald


Social sciences, Psychology, Domestic violence, Gender differences


Criminal justice research often finds gender-based differences with regard to both perpetration and responses to offending. These data indicate that, overall, women's crime rates are far below those of their male counterparts and that women commit less serious offenses. That is there are distinct patterns of offending across sex. In addition, justice responses tend to favor women, in that female offenders fare better than men particular in areas of arrest, prosecution, and sentencing. While previous research explores patterns of crime between male and female offenders, focusing primarily on drug or violent crimes such as homicide, there has been very little that has examined gender differences in domestic violence offenders and violators of protection orders. And even less is known about how the justice system responds to these perpetrators. But explanations of responses to other types of offenders may provide some insight. This study explores gender differences in offending patterns among offenders arrested for violating protection orders. Specifically, I compare the characteristics of male and female violators with regard to age, criminal history, commission of additional offenses, and type of additional offenses. I also examine how these cases are processed by our justice system, identifying the depth of adjudication (dismissal, conviction, and sentence), in order to determine if there are gender differences in these outcomes.