Over the last three decades U.S. parents have committed filicide — the killing of one’s child — about 3,000 times every year. The horrifying instances are often poorly understood, but a recent study provides the first comprehensive statistical overview of the tragic phenomenon. The authors also suggest underlying hypotheses of motives with the hope of spurring research on filicide prevention.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Instances in which parents kill their children may seem so horrifying and tragic that they defy explanation. Published scientific and medical research, meanwhile, doesn’t offer much epidemiological context to help people understand patterns among such heinous crimes. A paper in the March edition of the journal Forensic Science International provides the first comprehensive statistical analysis of filicide in the United States, drawing on 32 years of data on more than 94,000 arrests. The study also explores possible underlying psychiatric and biological underpinnings of filicide. (more…)