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Intimate and Family Murder Higgins O’Brien Spring 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Intimate and Family Murder Higgins O’Brien Spring 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Intimate and Family Murder Higgins O’Brien Spring 2012

2 Killing for Profit and Practicality Intimate and family murders can take place for many reasons and motives – Jealousy – Revenge – Attention seeking – Mercy Patricide/Matricide: Killing of father or mother Fratricide/Sororicide: Killing of brother or sister Filicide: Killing of children by parents Infanticide: Killing of young children

3 Obsession and Jealousy “Romantic Triangles” can lead to violence This occurs in both hetero and homosexual relationships

4 Power, Control, and Abuse Most intimate partner homicide is an expression of power or a defensive response to it Lethal force is unlikely to be the first violent episode in the relationship Some relationships held together through intimidation and aggression “Learned Helplessness” “Stockholm syndrome”

5 Power, Control, and Abuse continued Survival instinct may tell the victim to end the relationship, but they may feel safer with the abuser than try and separate “Abandonment Rage” occurs when there is an attempt to end the relationship Long term abuse can occur, before one of the parties escalate the violence Because of this, spouses who are abused have used “battered women’s syndrome” as justification for murder

6 Power, Control, and Abuse continued Due to the work of advocacy groups and victim services, domestic violence homicide has dropped 60% since 1976 However, some policies are debated – Protective court orders have shown to increase violence in some cases – Social intervention varies greatly throughout the country Some believe the drop in crime rate has occurred simply due to cultural changes

7 Family Annihilation Occasionally domestic murders will involve more than the primary victim, taking out the entire family Usually committed by the husband/father May believe it is what’s “best” for the children Possible causes include – Separation/Divorce – Child custody battle – Revenge – Wishes to commit suicide – Strain

8 Parricide Most parricides involve just one of the parents Offenders are usually adult males who have a serious mental illness – Schizophrenia – Antisocial personality disorder Can be a response to severe physical/sexual abuse

9 Filicide Juries often have little sympathy for parents who murder their children Researchers believe possible causes include – Psychosis – Antisocial Personality Disorder – Situational Loss/ Trauma Mothers are most likely to kill in first year of life Fathers more likely to kill older children

10 Infanticide Children experience the greatest risk from parents in the first few years of life About 600-700 children (under 5) killed in the United States per year Most newborns that are killed are done so by mothers that are young and poor, who may not have intended to have a child Stranger offenders do exist, but the majority of these crimes are committed by the parents (70%)

11 Infanticide continued Munchausen Syndrom by Proxy: victims are exploited as pawns to fulfill the offenders' needs – Profit – Companionship – Vengeance If a parent knows violence is taking place and does not stop it, they can be charged with “failure to protect” – Controversial, as it comes into play against mothers who may also be victims of violence in the household

12 Motherhood by Proxy The desire to be a parent, can lead some individuals to steal children from mothers who have just given birth Most are non-violent, but there have been cases where babies were cut from the womb “Pseudocyesis” is when a women believes to be pregnant when she is not

13 Killing for Love? Elderly family members are particularly vulnerable Motivations to kill very old family members Emotional problems Monetary gain Euthanasia (Killing to end suffering)

14 Murder-Suicide Many parents who kill their children commit suicide There are also cases of “suicide by cop” Men are most likely Individuals who are possessive and depressed Offenders who fail in suicide often claim the act was out of “love”

15 Prevention and Response Some studies believe that children who are spanked are at a higher risk for behavioral problems This can increase criminality, and promote a culture of accepted violence Some believe alcohol and drugs are contributing factors, but research does not support this Many social service programs aim to keep families together, even if the household is violent There continues to be an aversion towards foster homes Must be better ways to address the “red flags” seen in some parents' behavior

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