Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health

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Volume 10 Issue 2 (June 2000), Pages 73-148

Maternal filicide: a reformulation of factors relevant to risk (pages 136-147)



The current classifications of maternal filicide have relied on categorizations based on the immediate antecedents or motivations to the impulse to kill. The most useful outcome of these approaches has been to identify that the neonaticide group differ in terms of their age, demography, relationship profile and motivation from other maternal filicide perpetrators. The remaining groups are diverse and overlapping.


Five case summaries are presented which demonstrate the interaction of a number of factors noted in the literature as separate categories of filicide.


Mental illness, vulnerability factors, social isolation, and difficulty in forming successful relationships emerged as common themes.


It is postulated that only by examining a range of factors including mental state, relationship factors and the impact of developmental experience can a more useful understanding be developed that has clinical relevance and may be of value in risk assessment. Copyright © 2000 Whurr Publishers Ltd.

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