The number of criminal charges against female juveniles has risen dramatically in the Netherlands according to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Research and Documentation Centre (WODC). In 1980, about 4,000 girls were interrogated by the police; 26 years later in 2006 there were more than 12,000 interrogations of girls, an increase of 300% in 26 years. Moreover, this increase was even greater than that of boys: interrogations of boys has increased 50%, from 40,000 interrogations in 1980 to 60,000 in 2006. Particularly, the number of girls charged with violent offences has risen to a greater extent than that of boys. There was also an increase in the number of interrogated females above 25 years but this increase was comparable to the number of males. However, in the last decade the population of incarcerated women has risen to a greater extent than the population of incarcerated men.
Whether the increase in the number of girls and women is due to an actual increase of delinquent behaviour or to changes in the attitude of officialdom is not clear. Besides the changing policies of justice, explanation for the increase can be found in changes in terms of society and emancipation or in changes of parenting practices. Because of the rise of the number of girls and women in the judicial system, we need to know more about the development of delinquency in girls and women, the risk and protective factors, and the causes of delinquency. In recent years much more research has been done in this field, also in the Netherlands. Increased knowledge about female delinquency and its development and cause can lead to more (specific) effective intervention.
Most research on female delinquency has previously emanated from Anglo-Saxon countries. However, there is an increasing interest in the Netherlands for offending behaviour among females. The purpose of the Dutch Centre for the Study of Female Delinquency (DCSFD) is to conduct research and collect knowledge about female delinquency in the Netherlands and to make it accessible for other researchers and practitioners, nationally as well as internationally. The DCSFD attempts to bring together research from different disciplines: criminology, psychology, psychiatry, forensic psychology.