Objective: This essay contributes to the cross-cultural literature on childhood homicides by examining 16 infanticidal homicides that occurred in Fiji over an 11-year period. The results are compared with infanticide studies conducted in other societies. Method: Official police data recorded in a Homicide and Manslaughter register are analyzed. These are supplemented by newspaper reports of infanticides and semi-structured interviews conducted with key criminal justice and medical personnel intimately associated with infanticide cases. Results: The findings show that most infanticide defendants were young, poor, Fijian, with little formal education, living with nonparental kin at the time of the crime. The infanticides were precipitated by unwanted pregnancies brought on by nonmarital and extramarital sex. Pregnancy is carried to full gestation without knowledge of family, friends and neighbors of offenders and the infant is killed immediately following birth. Conclusions: The current findings demonstrate that the patterns of maternal infant killings in Fiji are congruous in many significant ways with those in advanced industrialized societies. It is concluded that additional research in non-Western, nonindustrialized nations is imperative to contribute to the development of sound conclusions about, and remedies for infanticide. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
- Child murder
- Violence against children