Repeated neonaticide: differences and similarities to single neonaticide events

Arch Womens Ment Health. 2019 Feb;22(1):159-164. doi: 10.1007/s00737-018-0850-1. Epub 2018 May 23.


This study aims to identify differences between single and repeat perpetrators of filicide by using register-based data. The study used register-based, comprehensive, nationwide data from both Austria and Finland. The current study covers 23 perpetrators, 20 single and 3 repeat perpetrators, with a total of 28 victims. All victims had a maximum age of 24 h and all perpetrators were women. Every third victim of neonaticide was a victim of a repeat case. The repeat perpetrators were older; had a higher number of children over their lifespan, some of whom lived with them; were more likely to live within established family structures; had higher levels of education and employment; had a higher proportion of personality disorders; and were more likely to identify stress factors during pregnancy. One unexpected finding was low levels of awareness about pregnancy within the perpetrator's circle remain a risk factor, especially for repeat perpetrators. Arguably, the quality of interpersonal relationships these women have may be affected by their own mental health issues and life experience and vice versa.

Keywords: Child murder; Filicide; Neonaticide; Repeated neonaticide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Austria
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infanticide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Personality Disorders / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult