Rethinking needed on unthinkable crime – Monash Prato Italy Conference “Addressing Filicide” 30-31 May 2013

22 May 2013

The unfathomable crime of filicide, the killing of a child by their parent or guardian, will be addressed at an upcoming international conference.

Conference co-chair Professor Thea Brown, of Monash University’s Department of Social Work, said the conference would initiate the first international charge on the problem of filicide that occurs in most countries, but presents a different face in each. 

“Filicide has been described as ‘an abominable crime’. It shocks and disturbs us to learn that a parent has killed his or her own child or children,” Professor Brown said.

“To date countries have not joined forces to discuss the issue, compare the national situations or undertake international comparative studies to learn what is in common among countries and what is different.”

Professor Brown said filicide was more common in some countries than others. 

“Although filicide is considered less common in Australia, an average of 25 children die at the hands of their parents each year. When a parent kills their own child, the tragedy causes deep distress to affected families and a cost to the community,” Professor Brown said.

Up to 15 countries will be represented by researchers, government policy developers, legal experts and a variety of service providers, some of which are family members of victims who have formed lobby and new service organisations. 

Keynote speakers will address topics relating to death review committees, courts and coronial processes, legal responses, general and family medical practitioners’ responses, maternal and child health nurses’ responses, paediatric and psychiatric  esponses, media representations, working with victims’ families and working with perpetrators post-conviction.

Dr Danielle Tyson, of the Department of Criminology at Monash will co-chair the conference.

The conference, ‘Addressing Filicide: Inaugural International Conference for Cross National Dialogue’, will be held at Monash University’s Prato Centre from 30-31 May.

For further information, visit the Monash University website.

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