Research

Analysis: 32 years of U.S. filicide arrests

An analysis of more than 94,000 arrests over 32 years may help medical and social professionals identify risk factors and prevent filicide — the killing of one’s child.

Instances in which parents kill their children may seem so horrifying and tragic that they defy explanation. Published scientific and medical research, meanwhile, doesn’t offer much epidemiological context to help people understand patterns among such heinous crimes. A paper in the March edition of the journal Forensic Science International provides the first comprehensive statistical analysis of filicide in the United States, drawing on 32 years of data on more than 94,000 arrests. The study also explores possible underlying psychiatric and biological underpinnings of filicide.