Children who kill family members: three case studies from Australia

C. J. Lennings*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The assessment of risk in young offenders is complicated by the general lack of specific assessment instruments. Young offenders who kill family members constitute a small group and often display characteristics that set them apart from the general young offender population. The following article reviews information about young offenders who murder family members in the context of three cases. Young Australian parricidal offenders appear to differ greatly from cases reported in the North American literature; hence, it is unlikely that insights gained from analyzing such cases will have great utility for Australia, and presumably other non-North American cultures. Although child abuse and substance abuse are seen as important and ubiquitous factors underlying homicidal behaviour in this group in North American studies, these influences are absent in the Australian cases. It is necessary to establish "local portraits" (in the absence of a sufficiently large group to provide normative data) in order to understand the particular features of this group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-72
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Threat Assessment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • assessment
  • forensic psychology
  • parricide
  • young offenders


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