Child homicide in Victoria 1985-1992

Criminology Research Council grant ; (32/93-4)

The report from this project is a compilation of publications and papers based on analyses of data derived from the files of the Office of the Coroner in the State of Victoria, Australia, for the period 1985 - June, 1995. The report identifies a number of different forms of child homicide committed by both men and women and considers the significance of gender for an understanding of these events. Of the 89 child homicides, 58 (65%) were filicides. The remaining one-third (31 cases, or 35%) were homicides in which the child was killed by someone other than a parent. The cases involved 79 known offenders, of whom 29 were female and 50 were male. The most apparent differences in child homicides committed by women and those committed by men are the age of the victims and the relationship between the perpetrator and the offender. Women almost always killed children under the age of 10 years and virtually all of the teenage victims were killed by men. Most women killed their biological children, while the children killed by their male carer tended to be the child of a de facto partner. However, just over half (56%) of the men killed children of whom they were not parents or guardians.