Gender differences in legal outcomes of filicide in Austria and Finland.

Affiliation

Society & Health Research Center, Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile. [Email]

Abstract

Female offenders of filicide have been found to receive more lenient legal handling than male offenders. We aimed to discover these possible gender differences in the legal outcome of filicide cases. This was a binational register-based study covering all filicide offenders in Austria and Finland 1995-2005. We examined the legal outcomes of the crimes of all living offenders (64 mothers and 26 fathers). Mothers received a conviction of murder and life imprisonment less often than fathers. Within psychotic and personality-disordered offenders, infanticides, and offenders convicted for life, gender differences were less evident. Even though there seems to be some gender differences within the legal outcomes of filicide, ruling seemed more consistent than expected within distinct subgroups of offenders. Gender-based assumptions should not hinder equal and just handling of filicide cases.

Keywords

Child murder,Filicide,Gender,Infanticide,Legal outcome,