Gender differences in legal outcomes of filicide in Austria and Finland
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.
KeywordsFilicide Child murder Infanticide Gender Legal outcome
We thank Markku Eronen, Maria P. Almiron, and Jenny Yourstone for their contributions to the European Collaboration of the Understanding of Filicide (E.C.U.F.).
The Austrian Project was funded by the Austrian National Bank (Jubiläumsfonds AP 12200 ÖNB).
The Finnish research team did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Ethical approval was granted in Austria by the Austrian Ethics Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Medical University of Vienna and in Finland by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of the Interior, the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman, the Ethics Committee for Pediatrics, and the Adolescent Medicine and Psychiatry of Helsinki University Central Hospital.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no financial interests associated with the funding sponsor for this research, and thus, the authors declare that no conflict of interest exists with respect to this work.
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