A Meta-Synthesis of Filicide Classification Systems: Psychosocial and Psychodynamic Issues in Women Who Kill Their Children

Marie E. Mugavin


J Foren Nurs. 2005;1(2):65-72. 

In This Article

Future Research

Filicide is a family issue but has yet to be deliberated in this context. The constellation of caregivers, including family and friends who surround the mother and her children, have yet to be adequately investigated. Filicide does not happen in a vacuum. As in the case of Andrea Yates, the Texas woman who in 2001 drowned her five children, someone else must be absent or looking the other way at the wrong time for these deaths to occur (Korbin, 1989; O'Malley, 2004). Studies have focused on the perpetrator of the crime, yet little is known of the individual's partner, the partner's role in the killing, or his/her reactions to it. Pediatricians must be able to discern when to shift from being the parent's ally in attempting to alleviate a child's suffering, to within reason, suspecting the parent of being the agent responsible for the child's suffering.


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