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Nov. 18, 2022

How True Crime Affects Society

The Shocking Findings About Female Podcast Audiences


How True Crime Affects Society. There is a dark truth behind the explosion of true crime podcasts, according to experts.


While the genre was becoming a national obsession, it’s believed women were engrossed in these real-life dramas because they feared for their own safety. 


Former academic turned true crime podcaster Lisa Tait said while some listened purely for entertainment, research indicated females did so to arm themselves against crime.

“At the heart of this, is the belief that we fear these violent crimes will happen to us,” she said.

“As women, we face greater levels of intimate partner violence than men. We know we can realistically be murdered on our walk home, like Jill Meagher, or sex trafficked in huge numbers, as happened in the Jeffrey Epstein case.”
How Does True Crime Affect Society

How True Crime Affects Society


One academic study, by Allen et al, maintains true crime is consumed by females partly for the “potential survival cues contained” contained in the stories.


“The answer may lie in fear of crime, as much research has shown that women fear becoming the victims of a crime more so than do men,” the researchers said in the report.


Another academic Amanda Vicary agrees about the impact of this type of storytelling. 


She says the women she spoke to in her research admit to consuming true crime for their own safety. 


It is seen as a way for them to expose and process the violence leveled against females and arm themselves in a world which is not safe.  


“They are enacting tips and tricks that they observe during shows, without realising that it’s their very need to protect themselves that could be drawing them to the genre,” Ms Vicary said.


As well, she stated women appeared to be more attracted to true crime than men because they “feel like they might be able to use the information discussed…for survival. We might expect women to be more interested in true crime …because of the potential survival cues contained.”

How True Crime Affects Society

Moreover, Ms Tait said the impact of true crime podcasts was now reverberating throughout our justice systems.


“And every now and then, we get the bad guys, as was seen in the Jeffrey Epstein Ghislaine Maxwell crimes,” she said.


The smash hit The Teachers Pet charted a story which ended in a murder conviction. Another, The Lady Vanishes, by Seven News, was instrumental in securing a coronial inquest into a 25-year-old missing persons case.


A 2018 online survey undertaken in the Journal of Audio and Video found 73% of the true crime podcast audience was female. 


“The listener base shows that the audience is predominantly female, active, involved, and interested in the material covered,” the report’s author Kelli Boling said.


“Ultimately, I found that the female domestic violence survivors in true crime podcast audiences are using this emerging media in unprecedented ways and challenging the patriarchal nature of the criminal justice system and media’s traditional coverage of domestic violence. 


“Their voices are heard, their stories are normalised, and that they are collaborating with true crime podcasters to process their own trauma and educate others about the reality of their lived experiences.”

How True Crime Affects Society

And it’s not just podcasts that are beneficiaries of thus fascination with crime, as it also includes other forms of media. 


A 2019 CivicScience study found viewership of true crime television also skews female, and a 2015 Harris poll of readers found “mystery, thriller and crime” was the genre most read by women. It also found females were more than 46 percent more likely to have read a true crime book than men.


Dr Sharon Packer, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Mt Sinai Hospital believes true crime can also feel “like a dress rehearsal” for women who might end up in danger.


“They may feel a sense of secondhand relief when watching other women in dangerous situations because they’re glad they’re not there – and because they feel they might learn something from watching,” she said.


Ms Tait said this was consistent with the audiences of her true crime work. 


Two of my podcasts (about sex trafficking and fraud) have overwhelmingly female audiences,” she said. 


“Our Jeffrey Epstein podcast, The Prince and the Pervert, started as a way for us to process our anger at a justice system that effectively re-traumatised the victims and let the wealthy abusers off with few consequences.”


“I started podcasting doing light-hearted reviews of ‘90s tv shows, but it all changed the moment I heard about the Jeffrey Epstein case. The Prince and the Pervert story chose us and within days there was no other option than to go towards that particular true crime story.”

How True Crime Affects Society

How True Crime Affects Society

Her latest work, Escaping Bangkok, draws on her lifelong fascination with prison escapes.


“It asks could you survive the Bangkok Hilton? This is the podcast about those who have gotten out alive,” she said


“We discuss how international travel is fun unless you end up in the notorious Thai prisons known as the Bangkok Hilton.”


About Escaping Bangkok


When you go to a Thai prison you face torture, death, disease and emotional devastation. Welcome to hell.


This is the podcast that tells of the pain Thai prisoners go through and how some of them have escaped. Could you survive a Thai prison?


Lisa Tait is also the creator and presenter of The Prince and the Pervert Podcast and Goodbye Glam Squad.


More about true crime listeners

How True Crime Affects Society



  • True Crime podcasts are popular in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Brazil, the Philippines, and India.
  • Top listener occupations include nurses, managers, authors/writers, journalists/reporters, and directors.
  • True crime podcasts are also popular with marketers, editors, teachers, and software engineers. (Source: Podchaser)