Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The neglected victims: what (little) we know about child survivors of domestic homicide

  • Peter Mertin (a1)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

Abstract

The murder of a child’s mother in the context of domestic violence is a traumatic experience which results in multiple stresses affecting the child’s emotional, behavioural and educational functioning. In effect, children lose both parents – their mother as victim and their father in jail or also dead from a murder-suicide – as well as their home, neighbourhood and school as they are relocated, either with extended family members or placed into foster care. In addition, extended family members must cope with their own grief and anger as they attempt to parent these troubled children. Evidence from the papers reviewed indicate that there are no guidelines for determining who is best placed for caring for the children and for providing the safety and stability necessary for recovery, nor for ensuring the provision of therapeutic support for child survivors and their families. There is also evidence to indicate that, left untreated, effects can become long-lasting and carry on into adulthood. Policy implications are considered with a focus on multi-agency family-centred advocacy approaches.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Peter Mertin, Email: mertin@adam.com.au

Footnotes

Hide All

When originally published, the article included the incorrect address for Peter Mertin. A correction notice has been published and error rectified in the online PDF and HTML.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Alisic, E., Groot, A., Snetsalaar, H., Stroeken, T., & van de Putte, E. (2017). Children bereaved by fatal intimate partner violence: A population-based study into demographics, family characteristics and homicide exposure. PloS ONE, 12, e0183466. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.1083466
Alisic, E., Krishna, R., Groot, A., & Frederick, J. (2015). Children’s mental health and well-being after parental intimate partner homicide: A systematic review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 18, 328345.
Australian Domestic and Family Violence Death Review Network (2018). Sydney: Domestic Violence Death Review Team.
Bryant, W., & Bricknell, S. (2017). Homicide in Australia 2012–13 to 2013–14: National homicide monitoring program report. Statistical report No. 2. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
Burman, S., & Allen-Meares, P. (1994). Neglected victims of murder: Children’s witness to parental homicide. Social Work, 39, 2834.
Cussen, T., & Bryant, W. (2015). Domestic/family homicide in Australia. Research in practice No. 38. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.
Devaney, J. (2015). Research review: The impact of domestic violence on children. Irish Probation Journal, 12, 7994.
Hardesty, J., Campbell, J., McFarlane, J., & Lewandowski, L. (2008). How children and their caregivers adjust after intimate partner femicide. Journal of Family Issues, 29, 100124.
Harris-Hendriks, J., Black, D., & Kaplan, T. (2000). When father kills mother. Guiding children through trauma and grief (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
Holt, S., Buckley, H., & Whelan, S. (2008). The impact of exposure to domestic violence on children and young people: A review of the literature. Child Abuse and Neglect, 32, 797810.
Kaplan, T., Black, D., Hyman, P., & Knox, J. (2001). Outcome of children seen after one parent killed the other. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 6, 922.
Lewandowski, L., McFarlane, J., Campbell, J., Faye, G., & Barenski, C. (2004). “He killed my mommy!” Murder or attempted murder of a child’s mother. Journal of Family Violence, 19, 211220.
Malmquist, C. (1986). Children who witness parental murder: Posttrauma aspects. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 25, 320325.
Stanley, N., Chantler, K., & Robbins, R. (2019). Children and domestic homicide. British Journal of Social Work, 49, 5976.
Steeves, R., Parker, B., Laughton, K., Knopp, A., & Thompson, M. (2011). Adolescents’ experiences with uxoricide. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 17, 115123.

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed

A correction has been issued for this article: