A mother in need or a monster indeed? A study into the explanations of why women kill their children and the criminal justice response

Maskell, Holly (2008) A mother in need or a monster indeed? A study into the explanations of why women kill their children and the criminal justice response. BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This dissertation looks at the crime of maternal filicide and examines the sociological, biological and psychological explanations for why the crime exists, followed by a study into the treatment women receive once they have been found guilty of the crime. It begins by recognising that the crime has existed in all societies for many centuries, but focuses on the nature and extent of the problem in England and Wales. The nature of female crime is explored, but the extent of women who kill their children is examined, followed by a discussion of the methods they adopt to commit the crime. A literature review ensues, which discusses the opposing theories which aim to explain female offending in general, later concentrating on maternal filicide specifically. Once the reasons for the crime occurring have been discussed it looks at how these women are treated once they enter the criminal justice system. Filicide is perpetrated equally by males and females; however, the sentences received by men and women are different. The reasons for the differing sentences are explored through studying theories associated with harsh and lenient sentences. It is recognised that women use psychiatric pleas as their defence for their crimes, yet the punishment does not reflect the psychiatric basis for their plea.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/502

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