“Double Jeopardy” Hypothesis

Defining, “double jeopardy” hypothesis is the case wherein one having experienced the same offense or almost-identical situation twice. Example would be women members of a minority group or lower class have experienced racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Minority women consider themselves double jeopardized, fearing either being sexually harassed and perceived being “slut” because of belonging to a different race. Migrant minority women workers are the best common example of this case. Inter-racial marriages have also added to the growing population of “double-jeopardized” cases.

In addition to increasing the chances of women engaging in domestic violence, abuse during childhood has been shown to elevate the probability of women being victims of domestic assault. Harsh parental physical discipline to women likely affiliate with and end up with spouses that has developed unlikely characteristics such as being hostile and rebellious in nature. Ironically, women who were victims of harsh parenting- as children- often grow up to experience violence at the hands of a boyfriend or spouse.

The offspring of battered women and abusive husbands, being exposed to violence at an early age, tends to engage in a variety of deviant behaviors, including violence toward their wives and children when the time comes that they have family of their own. Changes in the structure of the family have greatly contributed the growth of crime. When there is no father present, the child’s welfare is in “double jeopardy” as well, harmful effects of maternal coldness are more serious. The



absence of the father affects the treatment of the mother to her child, which most often than not causes the child to be troublesome and as the child grows he will be having his own family.

Studies have found childhood exposure to abusive parenting to be an important determinant of domestic assault. There is rather strong evidence that adults who received harsh treatment from their parents are at risk for assaulting their children[1] and spouse[2]. With this study cited another example of “double jeopardy.” Double-jeopardized children having been a part of disoriented family and receiver of maternal grief, finds outlet by engaging delinquent acts.

The relationship of double-jeopardized children and women made these two classes less affectionate and communicative with the people around them. These two, having no outlet from childhood to adulthood, found themselves being used to oppression. Worse is when they turned out to be the oppressor to their own family members.


Simons, Ronald L., Simons, Leslie Gordon, & Wallace, Lora Ebert. (September 2004). Families, Delinquency, And Crime: Linking Society’s Most Basic Social Institution And Antisocial Behavior (The Roxbury Series in Crime, Justice, and Law). Roxbury Publishing Company.

Hawkins, J. David. (March 29, 1996). Delinquency and Crime: Current Theories (Cambridge Studies in Criminology). Cambridge University Press.

[1] (Egeland, Jacobvitz, & Papatola, 1987; Herrenkohl, Herrenkohl, & Toedter, 1983; Simons, Beaman, Conger, & Chao, 1993; Simons, Whitbeck, Conger, & Wu, 1991; Straus, 1983).

[2] (Rosenbaum & O’Leary, 1981; Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz, 1980).