(Received 22 February 1994; accepted 9 August 1994)
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Homicide represents the most dramatic and heart breaking cause of death in children. Yet, in France, the true incidence and medicolegal data (modes, circumstances of deaths, and perpetrators) have been previously unknown. The goal of our study was to analyze the epidemiological and autopsy data in homicides in children in Paris and its suburbs during the past four years. We have included children from a few days after birth to 14 years of age. We report on 81 cases during the following period (17 in 1990; 14 in 1991; 16 in 1992; and 34 in 1993). Of those, 47 were boys and 34 girls. The mean age in boys was 6 years and in girls, 5 years. Fifteen homicides took place in Paris. The other 66 cases were from its suburbs. Twenty-nine of the murdered children were siblings. Seventy children (86%) were killed in their own homes; the father being responsible in 28 cases, and the mother in 17. In 20 instances, the murderer was unknown initially to the police. In 22 cases, the children were killed by gunshot, by stabbing in 14 cases, by battering in 22 cases. Four children died from drug poisoning, 13 from strangulation, and 6 from drowning. A prior history of child abuse was documented in 82% of fatal batterings.
Professor of Forensic Sciences, University of Paris (V) and Director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Paris, Paris,
Institut Médico-Légal de Paris, Paris,
Assistant Professor of Pathology and Forensic Sciences, University of Paris, Paris,
Stock #: JFS15341J