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Journal articles

Les néonaticides multiples ou en série : quelles spécificités ?

Abstract : Introduction Neonaticide cases are scarce in industrial countries and even more so the repetition of such an option during a woman's delivery stories. This phenomenon is fascinating and fuels unprecedented media campaigns of some cases when a woman is prosecuted for the murder of several of her children. Method A press review for the years 1989–2017 allowed collecting more than 2400 articles concerning 393 suspected neonaticides perpetrated during the 1990–2015 period among which 74 (+2 attempts) were multiple or serial, the 25 + 2 mothers having killed or left to die two to eight newborns. Results These women were on average older (32.9 versus 27) compared to those having killed only one newborn because they had in many cases yet other living children. Their ages at the first pregnancies or at the first neonaticides allowed to relativize this data (respectively 23.2 and 28.9). They were more often partnered or married and had a complicated link to their body willing to become pregnant but not to have children. Only one mother was considered as having experienced a denial of pregnancy, the others having confessed that they recognized at least one of their pregnancies. The concerned children were not included in a parental project, because the mothers or their partners had already decided beforehand against having children or having more than a number of children. Except in one case, the psychiatric assessments concluded that there was no abolition of the discernment, but for some of the mothers a diminished mental capacity. The court decisions concerning these mothers reflected the consideration of recidivism, even if not in a legal sense, as they were condemned to heavier sentences than the mothers having killed only one child (10.48 years in prison versus 5.8). Conclusion This analysis highlights the characteristics of women having killed two or more of their neonates and shows the challenge for the courts in understanding the situations having conducted the mothers to multiply such acts.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 14, 2021 - 3:15:04 PM
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Laurence Simmat-Durand. Les néonaticides multiples ou en série : quelles spécificités ?. Neuropsychiatrie de l'Enfance et de l'Adolescence, Elsevier Masson, 2018, 66 (6), pp.360-369. ⟨10.1016/j.neurenf.2018.07.008⟩. ⟨hal-03479983⟩



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