Current study: Parents are mostly the perpetrators of child killings

Current study: Parents are mostly the perpetrators of child killings

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Children killed: Mostly parents are the perpetrators
When young children are kidnapped, abused or killed, many people quickly have arguments against “strangers”. However, a new study on young victims of violent crime shows that in most cases the perpetrators are fathers, mothers or their new life partners.

Kidnapped and murdered her own child
For most mothers and fathers, it is probably one of the worst nightmares: their own child is kidnapped and murdered by a stranger. Unfortunately for some, this becomes a reality. For example, only in November did the parents of four-year-old Mohamed and the parents of six-year-old Elias gain terrible certainty: after his arrest, a 32-year-old from Brandenburg admitted to taking and killing the refugee boy Mohamed at the State Office for Health and Social Affairs (Lageso) in Berlin . He also later admitted that he had killed Elias, who had been missing in Potsdam since June. In addition, the alleged murderer Mohamed is said to have been sexually abused. The whole Republic was shaken by the fate of the two boys.

Child killing investigated
Countless children often experience sexual violence at a very early age. Research results were published only a few months ago, according to which ten percent of adults in Germany were sexually abused as children. Many victims do not live that long, they are killed. As the dpa news agency reports, a team at the Criminological Research Institute Lower Saxony (KFN) has been analyzing homicides against children in Germany for eight years. KFN director Thomas Bliesener said that one of the goals of the project is to develop prevention strategies, and the study of victims under the age of six has already been completed. According to the information, a follow-up project is currently underway that looks at the children between the ages of six and 13 years.

Perpetrators from the "absolute social area"
"Some crimes come to the fore in public perception, but they are very rare," said Bliesener. "Cases like the murders of Mohamed and Elias are the absolute exception," added the former project manager, Ulrike Zähringer. The expert was involved in evaluating the criminal records for all children under the age of six killed nationwide in the period from 1997 to 2006. “We examined the data on 535 victims. There were no sexual offenses and no real offenders, ”said the criminologist. "Rather, the perpetrators always came from the absolute social environment of the children, in most cases it was the parents or their new life partners."

Killed immediately after birth
According to the research, the largest group of 199 victims (37 percent) consisted of children who were killed by their mothers immediately after birth. These women are said to have previously concealed or totally suppressed their pregnancy and were surprised at birth. "It is difficult to say which prevention offers could help here," said Zähringer. The first baby hatch was set up in Hamburg 15 years ago. There are now several dozen such warming beds all over Germany in which women can anonymously place their unwanted babies after birth. "But you have to find out and plan beforehand," the criminologist explained. "In the cases that we examined, the women were unable to do this."

Family helpers should receive special training
It is also shocking to discover that around a quarter of the babies and toddlers killed were mistreated to death. Here, too, the perpetrators were in most cases the biological or social parents, in every fifth case the stepfather or partner of the mother. In the current case of the small Tayler from Hamburg, who was violently killed, the mother and her life partner are also suspected. Rainer Becker, head of Deutsche Kinderhilfe, has accused the Hamburg authorities of serious omissions: According to reports, the one-year-old had already been taken out of the family on suspicion of child abuse, but had been returned. According to Becker, every family helper must receive training on behalf of the youth welfare office in order to correctly assess traces of injuries in children: “What is the reason for an accident? What speaks for violence? ”Years ago, doctors reported that up to 200 children die of shaking trauma every year in Germany, which in some cases is not clearly recognized. In most cases it is added to the little ones by parents who want to bring the crying baby to rest.

Number of children killed is falling
Almost 13 percent of the small children in the KFN study were victims of an extended suicide. "There are warning signs of these acts, for which the police, youth welfare offices and the general population should be made aware," said KFN boss Bliesener. "The families often withdraw for a while before the crime, sometimes the children no longer go to school." Sometimes there are even announcements by the perpetrator that he will take the family along with him. The background is often a separation drama.

The scientists are currently analyzing the files of the 6- to 13-year-olds killed between 1997 and 2012. "There are no final figures yet, but the way it looks at the moment, the majority of older children are being killed in extended suicides," explained Zähringer. In contrast to those under the age of six, there are now also sexual offenses and perpetrators, but this case group is very small. According to the police crime statistics, the number of children killed is continuously decreasing. Last year, 46 under six-year-olds and 17 six- to thirteen-year-olds were killed, in 2004 there were 85 younger and 35 older girls and boys. A total of 148 victims were registered in 1997. According to Zähringer, the reasons can only be speculated. The decline may have to do with an increased sensitivity to the phenomenon of violence against children. Or also with better medical care, which allows more victims of serious violence to survive. (ad)

Author and source information

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