Some back of a napkin analysis re: male vs female sentencing.

This facebook post

22228192_10212800698266410_7965463935256288586_n.jpg

and this news article about a women who received 11 months home detention for pushing her husband down the stairs, killing him got me into a discussion about whether it is men or women are treated more leniently when it comes to domestic violence.

Using these tables from NZStats, here’s what I’ve got:

(The murder statistics aren’t that interesting, because for both men and women, almost all of them result in imprisonment, and the length of sentences isn’t available).

Men, Manslaughter
Sentence Total sentences   Imprisonment sentences   Community sentences   Monetary   Other   No sentence recorded
2007/08 20 16 4 .. .. ..
2008/09 23 23 .. .. .. ..
2009/10 32 30 1 .. .. 1
2010/11 37 35 2 .. .. ..
2011/12 21 19 2 .. .. ..
2012/13 15 14 1 .. .. ..
2013/14 27 25 2 .. .. ..
2014/15 15 15 .. .. .. ..
2015/16 19 16 3 .. .. ..
2016/17 21 21 .. .. .. ..
Women, Manslaughter
Sentence Total sentences   Imprisonment sentences   Community sentences   Monetary   Other   No sentence recorded
2007/08 4 2 2 .. .. ..
2008/09 6 5 1 .. .. ..
2009/10 17 9 8 .. .. ..
2010/11 5 3 2 .. .. ..
2011/12 6 4 1 .. .. 1
2012/13 4 3 1 .. .. ..
2013/14 4 4 .. .. .. ..
2014/15 3 2 1 .. .. ..
2015/16 7 4 2 1 .. ..
2016/17 5 2 .. .. .. 3

Some thoughts:

  • Men obviously commit more manslaughter than women
  • The sample size for women is a lot smaller, meaning that any noise is going to have a much bigger effect
  • But that said – eyeballing it, about 1/3 of women convicted of manslaughter get a non-custodial sentence, while almost all men get a custodial sentence
  • It’s possible that men commit more serious manslaughter offenses
  • It’s possible that women plead guilty earlier, or express more remorse

The data for assualts is more pronounced. There are a lot of of them, and so we can more safely extract trends:

Men, Assault
Sentence Total sentences   Imprisonment sentences   Community sentences   Monetary   Other   No sentence recorded
2007/08 7980 1401 4063 1336 781 399
2008/09 8487 1408 4651 1233 880 315
2009/10 8436 1500 4715 1048 847 326
2010/11 8144 1394 4681 904 914 251
2011/12 7755 1406 4394 855 854 246
2012/13 7320 1452 4202 734 740 192
2013/14 6332 1239 3799 606 547 141
2014/15 6026 1318 3632 534 437 105
2015/16 6497 1497 3914 511 487 88
2016/17 6545 1498 4063 439 441 104
Women, Assault
Sentence Total sentences   Imprisonment sentences   Community sentences   Monetary   Other   No sentence recorded
2007/08 1349 72 697 245 246 89
2008/09 1588 82 833 269 305 99
2009/10 1675 96 937 225 312 105
2010/11 1704 110 996 192 319 87
2011/12 1605 104 948 191 277 85
2012/13 1374 90 860 148 207 69
2013/14 1226 87 799 105 196 39
2014/15 1224 95 803 103 186 37
2015/16 1263 100 845 85 194 39
2016/17 1182 84 801 90 172 35

Around 20% of men who are convicted of assault get a custodial sentence.

Around 7% of women who are convicted of assault get a custodial sentence.

    • It’s likely that the assaults men commit are more serious
    • Men are probably more likely to have commited prior offences

In any case – some pretty good refuting evidence would be required to suggest that women are treated more harshly when it relates to violence offenses.

 

I wrote a letter to a news media company about distasteful content. Here’s their response.

My email (sent September 4):

Hi, I’d like to formally complain about this article you published, regarding a serious assault that took place in South Korea.

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2017/09/woman-cut-off-husband-s-penis-because-he-played-golf-too-much.html

 newshub.PNG

The article concerns a man whose wife cut his penis off.

The accompanying image you elected to use – a vegetable being cut up, essentially makes a joke of the assault, trivializing it, and doesn’t demonstrate the sensitivity that is appropriate.

Domestic violence is a serious issue, once that is exacerbated by cultural attitudes that prevent people from seeking help about it. As a media outlet, it is irresponsible to contribute to this attitude, by treating it like a joke.

It is also insensitive to any similar victims of domestic violence seeing their circumstances being treated this way.

Please treat this email as a formal complaint.

Can you please check your policy/guidelines for how you handle cases domestic violence, and tell me if your standards were adhered to in this case.

Yours sincerely,

David Johnston

Their response (Recieved September 29):

Dear David,

Thank you for you complaint about the Newshub article at the attached link. The MediaWorks Standards Committee agrees that the stock image used for the article was inappropriate and we apologise for the offense it caused you. Immediately after receiving your email we raised your concerns with the editor of Newshub online. The image was removed and the staff member responsible counseled.

We thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and once again apologise for the offense the article caused you.

Kind regards,

Robert Dowd

For the MediaWorks Standards Committee

I’m pleased with this response. It’s unequivocal, and it mentions that the staff member who published the article faced some kind of feedback. I would suggest that the email I sent may very well have a tangible effect on how domestic violence is portrayed in the media.