Why Women Are Likely to Commit Victimless Crimes

Why Women Are Likely to Commit Victimless Crimes



In the contemporary world, people understand what a crime consists of, and what it entails. However, many people are not aware that there are different types of crimes. Victimless crimes are crimes frequently known as social order and consensual offenses (Chandra, 2019). These crimes often do not cause physical harm to the victims but they cause psychological and emotional harm. Victimless crimes in most cases are violations of the law and involve willing participants. This is because offenders often willingly commit criminal activities that are considered to be harmful or illegal despite their knowledge concerning the subject matter. A crime that does no direct harm to any other entity is a victimless crime including crimes that endanger others without inflicting harm. Laws are written to establish that certain acts are crimes. To commit a crime is thus illegal. Victim-less crimes are simple acts that have been identified as crimes, for which one cannot identify a specific person other than the person who commits the act who is impacted to the level of being a victim (Levy, Cohen-Louck & Herzog, 2021). The concept of law is that commission of something prohibited by law is illegal. Some examples of victimless crimes include drug dealing, prostitution, adultery, indecency, lewdness, gambling, and seduction. For several reasons, research shows that women are more likely to commit victimless crimes.

Reasons why Women Commit Victimless Crimes

One of the major reasons why women commit victimless crimes is opportunities and socialization. According to Perez (2017), both opportunities and socialization theories indicate that women are more socialized in a way that deters them from other types of crimes. There is an increase in female crimes due to deviation from this position. Most researchers attribute victimless crimes among women to deference in gender socialization. Socialization into the roles of men and masculinity has led to values such as competitiveness and patterns of behavior like spending time away from home activities that promote deviance. Also, femininity and socialization into female gender roles lead to values such as gentleness in committing a crime. As a result, women are likely to commit victimless and less harmful crimes.

Among the main reasons why women engage in victimless crimes include sex differences in the application of social control and socialization patterns, differential role expectations, sex differences built into categories of crime, different access to criminal-oriented careers, and opportunities for committing crimes (Strange, 2017). In contemporary society, women are expected to stay at home, take care of the family, and do houses chores. As a result, they are more likely to follow the norms of society. However, since more women are in the workforce and out of the home, the opportunities for them to commit crimes have increased. Most jobs with financial positions provide women with opportunities for committing victimless crimes. According to research conducted by Levy, Cohen-Louck & Herzog (2021). the number of women committing embezzlement and fraud in their workplaces has significantly increased. The same applies to counterfeiting and forgery. Female participation in victimless crimes is therefore majorly caused by opportunities.

Another reason why women commit victimless crimes is due to pressure from the mentality to provide. According to Levy, Cohen-Louck & Herzog (2021), the mentality of breadwinner mentality has made more women feel pressured to commit victimless crimes and provides them with an opportunity to engage in the crime. Sometimes men fail to provide for their families and women take the role of men. Therefore, they have to engage in petty crimes to get money to feed their families.  Also, women are more likely to engage in victimless crimes since they have been provided with more freedom in public participation. Due to this freedom, the number of petty property offenses such as shoplifting, misuse of credit cards, and employee theft has significantly increased. There is a positive relationship between the increasing number of victimless crimes among women and the public-role participation of women. This is because women are more involved in public areas such as the labor force, education, and politics.

When it comes to crime, women take a completely different path from that of women. Criminal behavior paths are majorly influenced by gendered perspectives and life experiences. Crime differences are also portrayed by risk factors, the need for different services, societal roles, and smaller involvement in crime (Perez, 2017). More women have been forced to abandon their traditional roles as homemakers into criminal roles due to economic marginalization. The means of crime has significantly changed due to the placement of women in society. For instance, property crime rates have significantly increased since women have been liberated from the traditional restrictions and gender roles. Most women engage in victimless crimes such as prostitution and drug trafficking because they have been socialized differently than men. While men are expected to be aggressive, outgoing, and ambitious, women on other hand are expected to be nonviolent and passive. As a result, most women tend to engage in crimes that are less harmful compared to men.

Most women in contemporary society are single parents who earn less money compared to their male counterparts. As a result, they have to create their ways of making money faster. They do this by engaging in victimless crimes. Since prostitution and fraud levels are extremely high among women, they are employing these crimes to create more ways of making money (Strange, 2017). Many women coming to these crimes are long-term employees and middle ages. Most women committing these crimes look innocent and people will not suspect them to commit any crime. Women use these victimless crimes as means of survival for protecting their families financially. When things go downhill, this is often the last resort for many women. There is also a high possibility that women are looking to this as their need for equality. Since their male counterparts make more money, women find this a form of inequality and find quick ways of fixing this inequality. As a result, they engage in victimless crimes.

As more women get into the labor force, they experience more pressure to make a ling. Since economic roles are controlled by men, women have to create their ways of controlling those economic roles. According to Levy, Cohen-Louck & Herzog (2021), research on gender problematizes gender stereotypes and asks questions such as what are the domestic and public roles of women in society and how some constructed their relationships and gender identities. The feminist theory shows that class, gender, and race ideologies are interconnected. While women’s wages are viewed as secondary incomes in households where men are breadwinners. This theory shows that there is a significant difference between the wages of women and men and this is one of the reasons why women engage in victimless crimes like embezzlement (Perez, 2017).

Women also engage in victimless crimes because they are easy and cannot cause much attention. Engaging in or soliciting prostitution is a major victimless crime committed by women since it may not be easily noticed since many people engage in sexual activities. Most people will ask themselves why the society enact laws that make criminal, acts by an individual that does not harm any other specific individual and does not, in their commission, create a countable discrete victim distinct from the specific actor (Levy, Cohen-Louck & Herzog, 2021). Sometimes two consenting adults can be both be actors. The consent seems to eliminate either being classified as a victim and in this case, the absence of any specific victim other than those actors may also be labeled a victim-less crime. Those in power, those with the ability to make laws, usually view their power can transforming and improving the collective situation.

The behavior that is made a victim-less crime is already one that is socially rejected, something for which one may be shunned by the group. This feature helps to diminish feelings of empathy that might cause doubt in making a law to criminalize an act. Justification of the laws often falls back on the concept of bettering society as a whole. It seems, in legal parlance, no crime as such remains victimless (Chandra, 2019). Alternatively, it can be said that crime does earn its right definition if such deviated act causes injury to any particular individual(s) and/ to the state that is highly responsive to protect its people from any such attack. Needless to mention, to put deterrence, the state cannot avoid extending the definition of crime covering the preparation/attempt stage of any heinous crime.


In conclusion, women are more likely to engage in victimless crimes for different reasons. Socialization into female gender roles is one of the major reasons besides the opportunities and incentives of committing a crime. At workplaces, many feel unequally treated in terms of wages and decide to engage in victimless crimes such as forgery, fraud, and embezzlement. Women also commit victimless crimes due to pressures from the breadwinner roles and the need to provide for their families. Some of the majorly committed victimless crimes by women include prostitution, drug trafficking, shoplifting, fraud, and forgery. Also, the liberation of women from their traditional role of homemaking has led to an increase in victimless crimes among women. Due to these reasons, women engage more in victimless crimes.




Chandra, E. M. (2019). Victimless Crime in Indonesia: Should We Punished Them?. Padjadjaran Journal of Law6(2), 216-232. http://jurnal.unpad.ac.id/pjih/article/view/22214

Levy, I., Cohen-Louck, K., & Herzog, S. (2021). Predicting support for community corrections: Crime type and severity, and offender, observer, and victim characteristics. Punishment & Society 1(1), 1462474521989805. https://doi.org/10.1177/1462474521989805

Perez, K. (2017). Perceptions of Criminal Offenders (Doctoral dissertation, California Baptist University).

Strange, C. (2017). Casting Light on Women in the Shadow of the Law: Toronto at the Turn of the Century. In Great Dames (pp. 97-118). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


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