Book chapter

Brennan, K. and Milne, E. 2017. Infanticide. in: Encyclopedia of Women and Crime Wiley.
Chapter titleInfanticide
AuthorsBrennan, K. and Milne, E.

Several jurisdictions have special infanticide laws that allow for lenient treatment of women who kill their infants. These laws, based on the English legislative model, typically allow for an infanticide charge/conviction where women kill their infants in mitigating circumstances. The rationale for lenient treatment is medical, namely that the woman was suffering from a disturbance in the balance of mind caused by the effects of childbirth or lactation consequent upon childbirth. Historically, infanticide laws were enacted because widespread sympathy for unmarried women who killed their infants caused difficulties for the efficient and effective prosecution of this offender. Infanticide laws sought to address these difficulties by formalizing lenient treatment. In the contemporary context, several problems with these laws have been identified, not least of which is the dubious medical rationale. Some jurisdictions have reformed their laws to address these criticisms.

Sustainable Development Goals16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
Book titleEncyclopedia of Women and Crime
Publication dates
Print23 Aug 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Feb 2018
AcceptedOct 2017
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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