The narratives of abused children who have survived attempted filicide

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Child abuse is a social problem that receives much attention from policy makers, practitioners, and researchers. This alarming phenomenon generates many consequences for children, their families, and society as a whole; one tragic consequence of child abuse is filicide. Because of the unfortunate circumstances surrounding such events, children are hushed by their perpetrators, whether abusers or killers, and we are thus denied the opportunity to hear their voices and to promote understanding of the phenomenon. The aim of the current study is to explore in depth the patterns and themes that can be found in the narratives of children who survived a murder attempt by one of their parents. Content analysis was performed on seven investigative interviews with children using thematic analysis. Five key categories were determined based on the children's narratives: (a) many bad things have happened to me, (b) this was not the first time I was abused by my parent, (c) I am concerned about my parent, (d) I am alive thanks to my siblings, and (e) it is hard to remember what exactly happened. This study contributes to the understanding of child physical abuse and filicide. The discussion integrated conclusions for policy makers and practitioners who seek methods of addressing child abuse as well as determining whether and how filicide can be prevented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-770
Number of pages9
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Child abuse
  • Filicide
  • Investigative interviews with children
  • Thematic analysis


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