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Infanticide in Eastern Croatia

Mladen Marcikić
Boris Dumenčić
Elizabeta Matuzalem
Ksenija Marjanović
Ivan Požgain
Mladen Ugljarević

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 151 Kb

str. 437-442

preuzimanja: 901



For the layperson no crime is more difficult to comprehend than the killing of a child by his or her own parents. This is a retrospective study of neonaticide and infanticide in Eastern Croatia from 1980 to 2004. Judicial records of infanticide cases stored in Regional and County Courts were analyzed for the circumstances surrounding the offense. Twentyfour babies were discovered in various places during investigating period of time. The victims were almost equally divided between boys (12) and girls (11). The gender of one baby was unknown. The mean weight of babies was 2.7 SD= 0.66 kg. The perpetrators preferred rubbish-heaps (33.4%), burying in soil (16.7%), various premises in or around the house (16.7%) and garbage cans (12.5%) as places for hiding the dead babies. The most dominant cause of death in sixteen cases of live birth was asphyxia (37%) with equal distribution of smothering, stuffing the mouth with rags and strangulation. Other frequent causes of death were placing the child in a plastic bag and abandonment (25%), brain injury (25%) and wounding using a sharp weapon (12.5%). The cause of death for six babies remained unknown due to advanced decomposition. Two babies were stillborn. The age of accused mothers varied from 16 to 33, mean 24 SD=5.2 years. Most of them were unmarried (60%) and had limited formal education. They usually kept the pregnancy a secret (73%) and gave birth (93%) without public welfare assistance. The mother lived in the terror of shame and with the guilt that accompany conception without marriage. Fear seemed to be a pronounced motivating factor for committing infanticide. The data on court proceedings were available in fifteen cases. The mothers were officially indicted in all cases for infanticide under the Croatian Criminal Code. The perpetrator remained unidentified in nine suspicious crimes. The court convicted ten mothers of the crime of infanticide. Often juries were unwilling to punish the mother, citing the mother’s lifelong guilt of having killed her child as enough punishment.

Ključne riječi

infanticide, neonatacide, forensic pathology, psychiatry

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