The Global Campaign for Men and Boys

Challenge 5: How will you tackle crime involving men and boys?

120 reasons #6

High crime rates make everyone feel unhappy and unsafe. Men and boys are more likely to commit crime, more likely to be victims of crime and more likely to be harshly punished and imprisoned.

In terms of being a victim of violent crime:

  • Men are twice as likely to be victims of all violent crime
  • Young men are four times more likely that the rest of the population to be victims of violence.
  • Three quarters (76%) of victims of robbery and mugging are men and boys
  • Half (52%) of male victims of robbery and mugging are under 21
  • Three young men aged 20-24 are killed every week

The three key inequalities that seem to put men and boys at greater risk of offending are:

  • Fatherlessness
  • Poor education
  • Addictions and mental health problems

We have already highlighted the fact that around 70% of young offenders come from fatherless homes, in the section on fathers. There is a clear link between educational failure and criminal behaviour amongst men and boys.

Firstly, boys are three-to-four times more likely to be excluded from school and children who are excluded from school account for 90% of all young offenders. Secondly, boys are also three times more likely to have severe learning difficulties and amongst adult prisoners, 20-30% of adult prisoners have learning difficulties. Thirdly, boys are more than twice as likely to have very poor literacy skills and 82% of prisoners are at or below the writing level of an 11-year-old.

The links between crime, addiction and poor mental health are also stark. 90% of men in prison have at least one mental disorder and more than 70% have two or more diagnosed mental disorders. More than half of offenders link their crime to a drug problem while two thirds of men sentence are hazardous drinkers or severely dependent on alcohol.

Victims estimate that their assailant had been drinking in:

  • Half of violent incidents
  • Two-thirds of woundings
  • Over a third of domestic abuse incidents

Failing to deal with men’s addictions and mental health issues and give men the help and support they need puts us all at greater risk of crime.

Once caught up in the criminal justice men in general find they are treated more harshly than women who commit comparable crimes.

When men and boys come into contact with the criminal justice system they are more likely to end up in prison and receive a harsher punishment.

Female offenders account for more than a third of formal police cautions, nearly a quarter of court defendants but fewer that 5% of those sent to prison.

For every type of offence, a higher proportion of men are given a custodial sentence; men are given longer sentences than women on average (11 months compared to 17 months for males); men serve a longer proportion of their sentence and women are 50% more likely to be released early on a home detention curfew.

Research suggests that the most unequal countries have higher rates of crime than average and harsher prison regimes. We are all responsible for our own behaviour and experiencing inequality puts men and boys at greater risk of both committing crime and becoming a victim.

Tackling the inequalities that cause crime by and against men and boys can create safer, happier communities for everyone. We invite all political parties to consider what action they take to address crime involving men and boys.


If you want information on the ideas explored in this post then you may want to buy our eBook Equality For Men by Glen Poole which you can download today for £10 via this link:

Add to Cart

If you’d prefer a paperback copy of the book then find out how you can get hold of paperback version of the Equality For Men book here.

If you’d like to join our mailing list and receive occasional updates from us about equality4men then submit your details below:

Illustration by Jacqui Clark Art


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This entry was posted on November 18, 2013 by in #EndViolenceAgainstMen&Boys, 12 Manifesto Challenges.
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