Although the amount of women involved in public scuffles is on the rise, the vast majority of crimes in Finland are still committed by male perpetrators.
In 2012, the police were notified of a total of 29,000 assaults carried about by men. Similar incidents involving female aggressors were fewer, but numbered a still considerable 6,000.
While men still dominate the statistics, growth in such crime rates is very specific to women. There has been a rise in reports of violence committed by women of around one third on 2005 levels, according to Deputy Police Chief Erkki Kerola of the Central Ostrabothnia and Pietersaari police department.
"For women the rise is sharp,” says Kerola. "For men, there’s an increase, but it is not as fierce.”
Official procedures partly responsible for rising figures
In 2011, an amendment was made to assault laws regarding the offences subject to public prosecution. Earlier, the victim was entitled to say whether or not an assault could simply be brushed under the carpet, whereas now they do not have this option.
Incidences of domestic violence are logged more often, and this is one reason why female violence has grown.
“Previously a wife who was assaulted by a husband could come to the police and say that there was a domestic violence incident but that the issue did not warrant further attention. Now there is no such opportunity, even if the husband might like it to be so. The system makes it compulsory to officially record the case,” says Kerola.
The increased incidence reflects the fact that in the past women’s violence had remained hidden from official statistics. Kerola refers to national legal policy research that shows that around half of all domestic violence is perpetrated by women, with not only a spouse, but possibly children or parents on the receiving end.
Drunken catfights more common
In recent years, there are also a lot more incidences of a new phenomenon – young women on drunken rampages in public places. Women’s “intoxicated arrests” are increasing.
Police reports and bulletins are recognising many such incidents; women fighting in the park, a drunk woman tearing at another in front of a restaurant, etc. Police apprehend cat-fighters until they sober up.
Assistant Chief of Police Erkki Kerola interprets the reports as showing that drinking has becoming more masculine in nature.
“Women appear to have adopted more masculine behavioural models. The reasons seem to be deep down – in upbringing or individual social development,” Kerola says.