Drunk girl: Girls gone wild?
Pub grub ... drunken women are more messy, than menacing.
Women are drinking more and behaving more aggressively. Sonia Harford asks why.
Not long ago, the women in Victorian prisons were there largely because of drug or property-related crimes.
But that picture is slowly changing, with a rising number of women being convicted for assault and other violent crimes.
Police statistics show that the rate of women arrested for crimes against the person - including homicide, rape, sexual assault, robbery and assault - increased from 2005 to 2007.
However, according to Australian Institute of Criminology figures covering Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, overall female offending rates increased only for assault between 1995 and 2006. The rate rose 40% for women, compared with 15% for male offenders.
Nationally, the imprisonment rate for women soared between 1984 and 2003, by 209% for women compared with 75% for men. So what's going on? Are women really becoming more violent?
While these figures point to a disturbing trend, those searching for the reasons behind it paint a complex picture of women's changing identities, and an apparent acceptance of an increasingly violent culture.
With traditional male and female roles under constant pressure, young women have been alternately admired and derided for their independence, risk-taking and showing a more aggressive side. At the same time, their lives have changed in other significant ways. Women now marry later (if at all), delay childbirth, enjoy their independent incomes and often play hard. Women are now more likely than ever to have a voice in business, government and relationships.