U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Fathers Who Kill and Press Coverage in Israel

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: March-April 2009 Pages: 127-143
Gabriel Cavaglion
Date Published
April 2009
17 pages
This study examined Israeli newspapers' dissemination and reinforcement of cultural beliefs about the personalities of fathers who kill their children.
In the 45 articles examined, the reporting avoided indications of any signs or symptoms of mental illness or social distress in the perpetrators as related to their homicidal behavior. The portrayal of men who killed their biological children or stepchildren adhered to traditional, stereotypical roles of masculinity. Fathers who killed their children were depicted in newspaper reporting as motivated by rage and premeditated action that made them cold-blooded murders. Mothers who kill their children, on the other hand, are typically viewed as instinctually nonviolent with a "natural" attribute for being good mothers. Thus, when a mother kills a child, it is because of some deficient mental faculty or illness that disrupts a natural biological instinct to nurture and protect her children. Fathers who kill their children, however, are depicted as acting under a malevolent rage against a wife or intimate partner who would not bend to his will, such that the killing of the children was premeditated punishment of his intimate partner. Consequently, when fathers offer partially diminished capacity as a defense in legal proceedings, it is not persuasive against the weight of the cultural belief that men are prone to premeditated and patterned violence that involves frustration of their will to dominate women. Media reporting does not consist simply of the recounting of events, but of the representation of events within the construction and reinforcement of cultural views of the gender order and a system of power rooted in perceived biologically based characteristics and behavioral patterns of males and females. This study examined 45 articles from the 3 most popular Israeli daily newspapers that reported 12 cases of filicide between 1991 and 2002. 91 references


No download available