Grannicides in Ghana: a study of lethal violence by grandchildren against grandmothers

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The current article presents the results of an exploratory research that examined 16 homicides perpetrated by grandchildren against their own grandmothers in Ghana, West Africa. The term grannicide was coined by the present author and employed in the current analysis to denote the slaying of a grandmother by her grandchildren. Data for the present study were extracted from various Ghanaian print and electronic media. Results from the analysis of data show that grannicide is gendered, with all 16 identified grannicides perpetrated by grandsons against grandmothers. Offenders typically were young and of low socioeconomic background. Victims were of advanced age, poor, and at least partially dependent on their children and grandchildren for economic, physical and social support. All the homicides occurred in the rural areas of the country, and the victims commonly shared a residence with the assailant. Witchcraft accusations were the predominant motive in grandchild-to-grandmother slayings. The killings were overwhelmingly brutal, exhibiting characteristics that criminologists call overkill. Recommendations for reducing this type of crime are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-294
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 26 2020


  • Ghana
  • Homicide
  • eldercide
  • grannicide
  • witchcraft


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