What is it about?

The aim of the study was to investigate the offense characteristics and motivations for parents who kill their children as revenge against the other parent. Revenge (filicide) murder is an act where one parent kills their own offspring to hurt and upset the other parent.

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Why is it important?

It is the first South African study to highlight the motivations and characteristics in revenge murders (filicides). The findings show that the offending parent experience a loss of social identity because they feel rejected by their partner and that extreme anger is present in these murders. The offending parent is often likely to blame the other parent and sadism is evident. The offending parent has a deep desire to cause pain and have a need to inflict harm by murdering their own child or children


I believe that this article will highlight the complexities of family murder. This is an under investigated research area in family murder studies. I hope that this article will highlight the importance of preventative measures in communities and families.

Melanie Moen
Stellenbosch University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Killing your children to hurt your partner: A South African perspective on the motivations for revenge filicide, Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, October 2022, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1002/jip.1603.
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