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DIFFERENCES IN TREATMENT OF BOYS AND GIRLS

Historically boys have been registered for more crime than girls. This is still the case even if the crime levels for boys and girls are getting closer and registered crime level for both is decreasing.

Formally there are no legal rules or guidelines establishing differences in the approach to boys and girls by the criminal justice system. It is sometimes argued that the tolerance for misbehavior by girls is greater meaning that adults around the juveniles are more reluctant to define deviant behavior by girls as criminal than if the same deviancy is seen from a boy. This may historically have been the case, but within the latest 8-10 years so-called “girls gangs” have had much attention in the media, so it is not likely that a possible informal reluctance to define a girl as criminal is the case today.

The fact that the share of girls sentenced to imprisonment is the same as the share of female in the population as a whole does not indicate that girls are sentenced more leniently than boys. The fact that the main girls’ crime is a sort of crime which without gender specification is expected to be responded to with a fine does also not indicate leniency towards girls in the sentencing. The share of girls being sentenced to Youth Sanction, which is seen as a serious penalty and an alternative to imprisonment, is much larger than the share of girls receiving a sentence to imprisonment. This is also not an indication of leniency. Of course none of this speculation can be seen as proof of a relatively more repressive attitude to deviant and criminal girls. Conclusive the only firm statement to be made is that there exist no formal or binding instructions or guidelines proposing a different treatment of boys and girls in Denmark.

 
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