Child Abuse and Murder by Parents


Dr. Philip J. Resnick M.D.




24 August 2018


Child Abuse and Murder by Parents

Educational Goals:

1. Identify the differences between filicide and neonaticide.
2. Classify child murders based on five motives.
3. Identify the reasons that mothers kill their newborn infants.


Maximum of 80 participants

The motives for killing newborns (neonaticide) will be distinguished from the motives for the killing of children older than 24 hours (filicide). Child-murder by parents will be divided into five categories: (1) altruistic (includes child homicide associated with suicide, and to relieve suffering; (2) acutely psychotic; (3) unwanted child; (4) child maltreatment (fatal battered child); and (5) spouse revenge. Videotaped examples of actual cases of altruistic filicide and neonaticide will serve as a basis for discussion. Dr. Resnick will discuss the perpetrators’ and their spouses’ reactions to the homicides. Gender differences in dispositions show that fathers are more likely to be incarcerated. Mothers are far more likely to be forgiven than fathers. Fathers are more likely to commit familicide than mothers. The likelihood of parents in each category succeeding with an insanity defense will be given special attention. Finally, strategies for prevention will be covered.