Aim: To determine socio-demographic features and criminal liability of individuals who committed filicide in Turkey.
Method: The study involved 85 cases of filicide evaluated by the 4th Specialized Board of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Istanbul in the 1995-2000 period. We assessed the characteristics of parents who committed filicide (age, sex, education level, employment status, and criminal liability) and children victims (age, sex, own or stepchild), as well as the causes of death.
Results: There were 85 parents who committed filicide (41 fathers and 44 mothers) and 96 children victims. The mean age of mothers who committed filicide (52% of filicides) was 26.5-/+7.7 years, and the mean age of fathers (48% of filicides) was 36.1-/+10.0 years (t=-5.00, p<0.001). Individuals diagnosed with psychiatric disturbances, such as schizophrenia (61%), major depression (22%), imbecility (10%), and mild mental retardation (7%), were not subject to criminal liability. Almost half of parents who committed filicide were unemployed and illiterate.
Conclusion: Filicide in Turkey was equally committed by mothers and fathers. More than half of the parents were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and came from disadvantageous socioeconomic environments, where unemployment and illiteracy rates are highly above the average of Turkey.