Filicide is the deliberate act of a parent killing their own child. The word filicide is derived from the Latin words filius and filia (son and daughter) and the suffix -cide, meaning to kill, murder, or cause death. The word can refer both to the crime and to the perpetrator of the crime.
A 1999 U.S. Department of Justice study concluded that mothers were responsible for a higher share of children killed during infancy between 1976 and 1997 in the United States, while fathers were more likely to have been responsible for the murders of children aged eight or older. Furthermore, 58-percent of the children who were killed by their mothers (maternal filicide) were female, while 52-percent of the children who were killed by their fathers (paternal filicide) were male. Parents were responsible for 61-percent of child murders under the age of five. Sometimes, there is a combination of murder and suicide in filicide cases. On average, according to FBI statistics, 450 children are murdered by their parents each year in the United States.
Types of filicide
Dr. Phillip Resnick published research on filicide in 1969 and stated that there were five main motives for filicide, including "altruistic," "fatal maltreatment," "unwanted child," and "spousal revenge." "Altruistic" killings occur because the parent believes that the world is too cruel for the child, or because the child is enduring suffering (whether this is actually occurring or not). In fatal maltreatment killings, the goal is not always to kill the child, but death may occur anyway, and Munchausen syndrome by proxy is in that category. Spousal revenge killings are killings of children done to indirectly harm a domestic partner; they do not frequently occur.Glen Carruthers, author of "Making sense of spousal revenge filicide," argued that those who engage in spousal revenge killings see their own children as objects.
Children at risk
In the United States, homicide is in the top five causes of deaths of children, and in the top three causes of death in children between 1 and 4 years old. A direct correlation has been identified between child abuse rates and child homicide rates. Research suggests that children who are murdered by their parents were physically abused victims prior to death.
Feticide, the killing of a fetus
Neonaticide, the killing of a child during the first 24 hours of life
Infanticide, the killing of an infant from birth to 12 months
Child murder, the murder of a child in general
Filial cruelty, cruelty toward one's own child
Child cruelty, cruelty toward an unrelated child
Avunculicide, the killing of one's uncle
Filicide, the killing of one's child
Fratricide, the killing of one's brother
Mariticide, the killing of one's husband
Matricide, the killing of one's mother
Nepoticide, the killing of one's nephew
Parricide, the killing of one's parents or another close relative
Patricide, the killing of one's father
Prolicide, the killing of one's offspring
Sororicide, the killing of one's sister
Uxoricide, the killing of one's wife or husband