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For animals, see Infanticide (zoology).
Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan on November 16th, 1581., a painting of the filicide by Ilya Yefimovich Repin.

Filicide is the deliberate act of a parent killing his or her own child. The word filicide derives from the Latin words filius meaning "son" or filia meaning daughter, and the suffix -cide meaning to kill, murder, or cause death. "A filicide" may refer both to the parent who killed his or her child, as well as to the criminal act that the parent committed.


Child homicide is most prevalent in Nigeria followed by Brazil.[1][2]

A 1999 United States Department of Justice study concluded that between 1976 and 1997 in the United States, mothers were responsible for a higher share of children killed during infancy, while fathers were more likely to have been responsible for the murders of children age 8 or older.[3]

Furthermore, 52% of the children killed by their mothers (maternal filicide) were male, while 57% of the children killed by their fathers (paternal filicide) were male. Parents were responsible for 61% of child murders under the age of five.[4] Sometimes, there is a combination of murder and suicide in filicide cases. On average, according to FBI statistics, 450 children are murdered by their parents each year in the United States .[5]

Children at risk[edit]

In the United States, homicide is in the top five causes of deaths of children, and in the top three causes of death in children aged between 1 and 4 years old.[6] A direct correlation has been identified between child abuse rates and child homicide rates. Research suggests children who are murdered by their parent(s) were physically abused victims prior to death. This is often seen as an indicator of domestic violence.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Greenfeld, Lawrence A.; Snell, Tracy L. (1999-02-12, updated 2000-03-10). "Women Offenders" (PDF). NCJ 175688. US Department of Justice. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-03. Retrieved 2011-07-08.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ Friedman, S., H., M.D., Horwitz, S., M., Ph.D., and Resnick, P., J., M.D.. (2005). Child murder by mothers: A critical analysis of the current state of knowledge and a research agenda. Am J Psychiatry 162:1578-1587 [1]
  5. ^ USA Today. Parents who do the unthinkable -- kill their children
  6. ^
  7. ^ Holmes, Ronald M.; Holmes, Stephen T. (2001). Murder in America. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc. p. 116. 

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