U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

An Investigation of Violence against Women, Gender Inequality, and Racial Inequality

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
St. Louis
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $81,714)

The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Graduate Research Fellowship Program
provides awards to accredited universities for doctoral student research that uses criminal justice data or statistical series and focuses on crime, violence, and other criminal justice-related topics.

BJS invests in doctoral education by supporting universities that sponsor students who demonstrate the potential to complete doctoral degree programs successfully in disciplines relevant to the mission of BJS, and who are in the final stages of graduate study.

The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the pool of researchers using criminal justice statistical data generated by BJS, thereby contributing solutions that better prevent and control crime and help ensure the fair and impartial administration of criminal justice in the United States.

Under this award, BJS is funding dissertation research proposed by the University of Missouri St. Louis on behalf of CheyOnna Sewell entitled, "An Investigation of Violence against Women, gender inequality, and racial inequality.”

The researcher reasons that, after over a century of macro-level crime observation and analysis, criminologists still struggle with predicting and explaining changes in crime rates. This is true for all forms of crime including violence against women. The primary macro-level theory used to explain violence against women posits that changes in gender inequality promote changes in the level of violence against women. While the empirical literature investigating this relationship spans over three decades, the results are inconclusive. Indeed, there is little consensus regarding the direction and properties of the relationship, which indicators of gender inequality should be used, the role of racial inequality, and whether the relationship is race-specific.

The purpose of the study proposed is to thoroughly explore these issues. Specifically, this project investigates the effect of gender inequality, racial inequality, and race on trends of violence against women using a variety of quantitative methods. For instance, this project will use time-series analyses, comparative statistics, and factor analyses to comprehensively analyze this relationship. Homicide data from the Supplemental Homicide Reports (SHR) and victimization data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) will be used to assess the scope and properties of the relationships.

Using two datasets allows for a broader study that can assess whether gender inequality is related to fatal and non-fatal violence against women. In addition, it allows the project to investigate the relationship at various geographic-levels using the SHR while also being able to use victimization data from the NCVS which may better reflect the actual levels of violence against women in the United States of America.

This project has the potential to contribute to the theoretical explanation of crime, data development/refinement, social service provision, and criminal justice policy and practices. In addition, by using secondary data this project does not involve human subjects and, therefore, is associated with little risk.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law.


Date Created: September 30, 2015