Victim, perpetrator, and offense characteristics in filicide and filicide-suicide

Agata Debowska, Daniel Boduszek, Katie Dhingra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to provide a critical review of most recent studies of parental and stepparental filicide. A detailed review of the literature revealed the importance of certain demographic, environmental, and psychosocial factors in the commission of child homicide. Our findings indicate that filicides perpetrated by genetic parents and stepparents differ considerably in terms of underlying motivational factors. Data in the literature suggest that biological parents are more likely to choose methods of killing which produce quick and painless death, whereas stepparents frequently kill their wards by beating. Research results demonstrate the victims of maternal filicides to be significantly younger than the victims of paternal filicides. Additionally, filicide-suicide is most often associated with parental psychopathology. Genetic fathers are at the greatest risk of death by suicide after the commission of familicide. These findings are discussed in relation to theoretical frameworks explaining the occurrence of child murder. Further, limitations of reviewed studies and directions for future research are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-124
Number of pages12
JournalAggression and Violent Behavior
Volume21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

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