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Intra- and extra-familial child homicide in Sweden 1992-2012: A population-based study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology. National Board of Forensic Medicine, Sweden; Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
Number of Authors: 3
2016 (English)In: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, ISSN 1752-928X, E-ISSN 1878-7487, Vol. 39, 91-99 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous studies have shown decreasing child homicide rates in many countries - in Sweden mainly due to a drop in filicideesuicides. This study examines the rate of child homicides during 21 years, with the hypothesis that a decline might be attributable to a decrease in the number of depressive filicide offenders (as defined by a proxy measure). In addition, numerous characteristics of child homicide are presented. All homicide incidents involving 0e14-year-old victims in Sweden during 1992-2012 (n = 90) were identified in an autopsy database. Data from multiple registries, forensic psychiatric evaluations, police reports, verdicts and other sources were collected. Utilizing Poisson regression, we found a 4% annual decrease in child homicides, in accordance with prior studies, but no marked decrease regarding the depressive-offender proxy. Diagnoses from forensic psychiatric evaluations (n = 50) included substance misuse (8%), affective disorders (10%), autism-spectrum disorders (18%), psychotic disorders (28%) and personality disorders (30%). Prior violent offences were more common among offenders in filicides than filicideesuicides (17.8% vs. 6.9%); and about 20% of offenders in each group had previously received psychiatric inpatient care. Aggressive methods of filicide predominated among fathers. Highly lethal methods of filicide (firearms, fire) were more commonly followed by same-method suicide than less lethal methods. Interestingly, a third of the extra-familial offenders had an autism-spectrum disorder. Based on several findings, e.g., the low rate of substance misuse, the study concludes that nontraditional risk factors for violence must be highlighted by healthcare providers. Also, the occurrence of autism-spectrum disorders in the present study is a novel finding that warrants further investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 39, 91-99 p.
Keyword [en]
Child homicide, Filicide, Filicide-suicide, Infanticide, Neonaticide, Familicide
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-129195DOI: 10.1016/j.jflm.2016.01.011ISI: 000371791700016PubMedID: 26871306OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-129195DiVA: diva2:935192
Available from: 2016-06-10 Created: 2016-04-17 Last updated: 2016-06-10Bibliographically approved

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