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NCJ Number: 171095 Find in a Library
Title: Maternal Filicide: More Than One Story To Be Told
Journal: Women and Criminal Justice  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(1997)  Pages:15-39
Author(s): C M Alder; J Baker
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 25
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Data from the coroners court files in Victoria, Australia from 1978-1991 were used to explore cases of murder of children by their mothers.
Abstract: The data on the 32 incidents of maternal filicide were grouped into three categories: murder-suicides, the murders of newborn infants, and fatal assaults. Results challenged assumptions that a single explanation is possible for these events or thus for homicides by females in general. The data did not support representations of female homicide as predominantly emotional outbursts entailing a loss of control. Suicide notes or prior comments to friends and relatives indicated that mothers in the murder-suicides believed that the filicide was in the children's best interest. These were cases of misguided altruism. Murders of newborns within their first 24 hours of life were characterized more by the total denial of the pregnancy and the birth than by a motivation to kill the child. The intent in the fetal assaults was also not to kill the child; these mothers usually had previously assaulted the child and the extreme physical violence this time resulted in the child's death. These cases have been called fatal non-accidental injury. Findings indicated the maternal filicide is more diverse and complex than previously determined in most of the previous research. Research recommendations and 66 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Crime in foreign countries; Criminology; Family homicide; Female murderers; Homicide victims; Victoria
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