Is fraud really a 'man's world'? A gender-based study into the profile of a benefit fraudster

Allen, Lindsey (2010) Is fraud really a 'man's world'? A gender-based study into the profile of a benefit fraudster. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation aims to evaluate whether benefit fraud is a gender-specific crime by examining academic gender-crime theories to identify the types of crimes that men and women commit and the reasons why, from the available research, review the relationships between gender, the welfare state, and fraud and discuss if men and women commit certain types of fraud and the possible reasons why, conduct a content analysis (CA) of press releases of convicted benefit fraudsters between September 2008 and August 2009 to determine, the gender and age of the fraudsters and the value and type of fraud committed. To compare the results with academic research and examine organisational statistics from Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (TMBC) benefit enquiry unit for prosecutions from financial years 2004/05 to 2008/09 to determine, the gender and age of the fraudsters and the value and type of fraud committed. The results will be compared with the content analysis and academic research. To accompany the literature review the research consisted of secondary data from two sources. A CA of a sample of press releases of convicted fraudsters between September 2008 and August 2009 and a sample of benefit fraud prosecution statistics from TMBC from 2004-5 to 2008-9. It was found that men commit more crime than women overall, perhaps because men and women have different traditional gender-roles in society, which influences their socialisation and subsequent life-course opportunities. These differences appear to have a direct correlation to the types of crime and fraud that men and women commit. Female crime has tended to be ignored because of the assumption that women commit less serious crime, however early gender theories of crime were criticised for this. Men are more likely to be convicted of occupational fraud due to their dominance in the workplace. Women are more likely to be convicted of benefit fraud as they are more vulnerable to being dependant on the state, however a snapshot in 2008 showed that more men were claiming benefits than women, possibly as a result of the recent global recession. The secondary data largely correlates the findings in the literature review but the CA data shows that men and women are almost equal in being guilty of benefit fraud. Traditional theories of who commits this crime could be now challenged in the same way as the early gender crime theories. Overall, although benefit fraud does appear to be more of a female crime and the profile of a benefit fraudster, in this study, is a female in her late thirties to early forties who commits 'living together fraud'.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:16
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/876

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