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Perpetrator Suicide Following Incest Reporting: Two Case Studies

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Dated: (1988) Pages: 115-117
J L Morrison
Date Published
3 pages
This paper reports on two incest perpetrators who killed themselves after disclosure of the sexual abuse to law enforcement officials.
Both suicides occurred in Crow Wing County, Minn., in 1986. In the first case, the 41-year-old male hung himself a week before his arraignment for the sexual abuse of his 16-year-old daughter. His wife had left him and he had been invested in securing the return of his wife and daughter. He had shown a clear intent of killing himself, and over 6 weeks his suicidal intention was unchanged despite multiple hospitalizations, outpatient contacts, and efforts of friends. In the second case, a 35-year-old male shot himself a week following his arrest because of a sexual abuse report by a 13-year-old stepdaughter. In this case, the suicide was unexpected by family and friends. Interviews failed to reveal indications of depression, and the offender had agreed to participate in therapy. It is common for incest perpetrators to be almost completely preoccupied with the impact of disclosure on their lives. The negative consequences of disclosure constitute a threat to the perpetrator at all psychic levels, and suicide may seem an option for relieving the feelings of abandonment and pain. It, therefore, is important that the suicidal intent and ideation of perpetrators be closely monitored. 4 references.