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Victorian Crime and Punishment
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KS4 Women & Crime

While you have been studying crime and punishment have you noticed any trends or patterns about women and crime? For example were women more likely to be convicted of minor or serious offences? Were women punished more harshly than men for the same crimes? Did more women commit offences than men during wartime?

You now have the opportunity to test some of these ideas to see if there was a big difference in the types of crimes women committed and the types of punishments they received.

  1. Use the database to investigate whether women were more likely to be convicted of minor or serious offences.
    (To start you off choose 3 serious crimes and 3 minor crimes and then look at the male/female split – can you pick out any patterns for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdon?)
  2. Use the database to test the following statement made by a leading historian. “Women were punished more harshly than men.”
    (Choose two or three crimes; limit yourself to a certain time period e.g. 1810-1830 or 1840-1860 and then compare the punishments for men and women. What are your conclusions?)
  3. Using your results from task 1 and 2, the database and case studies, do you think that there is any evidence that women were treated differently to men because society expected women to behave in a respectable manner? What further evidence or research would you need to do to be more sure about your answer?

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