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Child Homicide and Neglect in France: 1991-2008

NCJ Number
Child Abuse & Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2014 Pages: 37-41
F. Makhlouf; C. Rambaud
Date Published
January 2014
5 pages
This French study examined the epidemiological characteristics of victims and offenders in child homicide cases.
Of the cases autopsied by the Department of Pathology and Legal Medicine of the Raymond Poincare Hospital in Garches, France, from 1991 to 2008, 70 involved homicide or neglect victims 15 years old or younger. This equates to a child homicide/neglect rate of 0.56 per 100,000 children per year. Slightly more than half of the victims (51.4 percent) were less than 1 year old, with an equal distribution for genders. Newborns (less than 1 year old) were most likely to be killed by their mothers; fathers were the most frequent offenders for both infants (1- 23 months old) and children (6 - 15 years old). Step-parents were involved in only one case. Homicide cases that involved both a child and a spouse were committed only by fathers. The leading cause of death was blunt trauma, especially head trauma. For newborn victims, half died from passive neglect. Gunshot wounds were the predominant cause of death for children groups. Murders in late childhood correlated with multiple filicide, familicide, and filicide-suicide. In an effort to prevent the homicides of newborns, several countries and States have enacted safe-haven laws. The law allows a mother to relinquish her infant without a criminal charge of abandonment. France has no such law; however, a mother can give birth in a hospital anonymously and free of charge if she intends to put the newborn up for adoption. The impact of this law on the prevalence of newborn homicides is difficult to determine. 4 tables and 33 references