Characteristics and offending of women in prison in Victoria, 2012-2018

7 November 2019

This research paper examines the characteristics and offending behaviour of all women who entered prison in Victoria between July and December during 2012, 2015 and 2018.

Key findings include: 

  • More than 800 women were received into prison during the last six months of 2018 compared with 333 women in 2012, with nine out of 10 women entering custody as an unsentenced prisoner during 2018.
  • The most commonly recorded charge for women entering prison on remand in 2018 was a breach of order, with almost three-quarters of women recorded for this type of offence (74%). Half the women who entered prison on remand during 2018 were charged with one of two new breach of bail offences first introduced during December 2013.
  • The next most commonly recorded type of charge for women remanded during 2018 was theft (63%), followed by drug use and possession (39%).
  • One quarter of women who entered prison on remand in 2018 were charged with drug use or possession involving methamphetamine, an increase from 5% in 2012.
  • The research found that less than two-thirds of women who enter prison on remand are eventually sentenced to prison, however more than 90% have at least one of their charges proven against them in court.
  • Half the women were the victim of at least one crime in the two years prior to their entry into prison, with assault the most common type of offence recorded.
  • Eight per cent of women received into prison on remand in 2018 were the victim of a sexual offence in the two years prior to entering prison. 
  • Forty-five per cent of women received into prison on remand during 2018 had been imprisoned on at least one other occasion in the previous two years.
Number and proportion of female prisoner receptions by legal status at reception into Corrections Victoria custody and year of reception

Number of female prisoner receptions


Crime Statistics Agency, 2019
Date of Publication


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