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Indian Journal of Psychiatry
Medknow Publications
Publication Date
  • Letter To Editor
  • Medicine


LETTER TO EDITOR Mental illness in parents pur their children at risk of violence and abuse. Resnick(1969) proposed a classification of filicide based on the apparent motive: 1. The "altruistic" filicide may be done in association with suicide or to relieve the victim of imagined suffering. 2. The "acutely psychotic" filicide takes place under the influence of hallucinations, delirium ot epilepsy. 3. The "unwanted child" filicide may be carried out due to illegitimacy, extramarital paternity or financial pressures. 4. The "accidental" filicide is very similar to the battered child syndrome. 5. The "spouse revenge" flicidc is done to bring suffering to the marital partner. The index case belongs to the second category. Psychiatric illness is not a feature of men who commit filicide. In contrast, a link between maternal mental illness and filicide especially of young child has been reported (D' Orban, 1979; Marks and Kumar, 1993). Most parents show psychiatric symptoms prior to act of filicide. The guilt of killing one's own child and the hostile feelings towards other alive children during recovery need to be looked into seriously. This calls for the regular risk assessment of domestic violence by a psychotic parent towards his/her children. The reaction of hospital staff as well as of the reaction of the spouse would affect immediate care and the future support for the patient. REFERENCES D' Orban P.T. (1979) Women who kill their children. British Journal of Psychiatry,134,560-571. Oates M, (1997) Patients as parents: The risk to children. British Journal of Psychiatry, 170 (Suppl.32). 22-27. Marks M, ft Kumar, R. (1993) Infanticide in England and Wales.Medicine,Science and the law, 33,4. Resnick P.J. (1969) Child murder by parents: A psychiatric review of filicide. American Journal of Psychiatry. l26(3),325-334. *SUJATA SETHI, C. BHARGAVA, Associate Pro- fessor, SINGH, Lecturer, Department of Psychia- try, PGIMS, Rohtak. l2400

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