The present study is the first attempt to explore the rate, characteristics and legal reactions to neonaticide in Norway during the years
1990 – 2009. Potential incidents of neonaticide were identified through the national homicide index held by the National Criminal
Investigation Service and the national police registers for all recorded crime in Norway held by the National Police Computing and
Material Services. The study uncovers that no clear incident of neonaticide has been recorded in the respective registers during the
study’s time period. There was however recorded one case of a discarded stillborn and one case of an abandoned neonate that died
through exposure. The paper discusses whether the study’s findings are congruent with an evolutionary psychological understanding
of filicide and current knowledge of risk factors and rates for neonaticide.
Schwartz, LL. & Isser, NK. (2007) Child Homicide: Parents who kill. Boca Raton:
Taylor & Francis Group.
Shackleford, TK., Weekes-Shackelford, VA. & Beasley, SL. Filicide-suicide in
Chicago, 1, 870 – 1930. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2008; 23: 589 – 599.
Stone, MH., Steinmeyer, E., Dreher, J. & Krischer, M. Infanticide in female forensic
Patients: The view from the evolutionary standpoint. Journal of Psychiatric
Practice 2005;11: 35 – 45.
Weekes-Shackelford, VA. & Shackelford, TK. Methods of Filicide: Stepparents and
Genetic parents kill differently. Violence and Victims 2004; 19: 75 – 81.
Wilson, M., Daniele, A. & Daly, M. Familicide: The killing of spouse and children.
Aggressive Behavior, 1995; 21: 275 – 291.
Ciani, ASC. & Fontanesi, L. Mothers who kill their offspring. Child Abuse & Neglect
2012; 36, 519 – 527.
Alexander, RD. (1979) Darwinism and Human Affairs. Seattle, WA: University of
Daly, M. & Wilson, M. Discriminant parental solicitude: A biological perspective.
Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1980 May; 42 (2): 277 – 288.
Hamilton, WD. The genetic evolution of social behavior. Journal of Theoretical
Biology 1964; 7: 1 – 52.
Hrdy, S,B. (1999) Mother Nature. New York: Ballantine Books.
Hrdy, S.B. (2009) Mothers and Others. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of
Harvard University Press.
Trivers, .L. Parental investment and sexual selection. In B. Campbell (1972) Sexual
Selection and the Descent of Man 1871 – 1971. Chicago, IL: Aldine.
Sear, R. & Mace, R. Who keeps children alive? A review of the effects of kin on child
survival. Evolution and Human Behavior, 2008; 29: 1 – 18.
Winking, J., Gurven, M. & Kaplan, H. The impact of parents and self-selection on
child survival among the Tsimane of Bolivia. Current Anthropology 2011; 52: 277
Adinkrah, M. Maternal infanticides in Fiji. Child Abuse & Neglect 2000; 24: 1543 –
Adinkrah, M. Men who kill their own children: paternal filicide incidents in
contemporary Fiji. Child Abuse & Neglect 2003; 27: 557 – 568.
d’Orban, PT. Women who kill their children. The British Journal of Psychiatry 1979;
134: 560 – 571.
Jason, J., Gilliand, JC & Tyler, CW. Homicide as the cause of paediatric mortality in
the United States. Pediatrics 1983; 72: 191 – 197.
Kauppi, A., Kumpulainen, K., Karkola, K., Vanamo, T. & Merikanto, J. Maternal
and paternal filicides: A retrospective review of filicides in Finland. J Am Acad
Psychiatry Law 2010; 38: 229 – 38.
Marks, MN. & Kumar, R. Infanticide in England & Wales. Med Sci Law 1993; 4: 329
Marks, MN. & Kumar, R. Infanticide in Scotland. Med Sci Law 1996; 36: 299 – 305.
Oberman, M. Mothers who kill: coming to terms with modern American
infanticide. American Criminal Review 1996; 34: 1 – 110.
Overpeck, MD., Brenner, RA., Trumble, AC., Trifiletti, LB. & Berendes, HW. Risk
factors for infant homicide in the United States. The New England Journal of
Medicine 1998; 339: 1211 – 1216.
Saunders, E. Neonaticide following “secret” pregnancies: Seven case reports.
Public Health Reports 1989; 104: 368 – 372.
Taguchi, H. Maternal filicide in Japan: analyses of 96 cases and future directions
for prevention. Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi 2007; 109: 110 – 27.
Tursz, A. & Cook, JM A population-based surevey of neonaticides using judicial
data. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 2011; 96: 259 – 263.
Gheorghe, A., Banner, J., Hansen, SH., Stolborg, U. & Lynnerup, N. Abandonment
of newborn infants: a Danish forensic medical survey 1997 – 2008. Forensic Sci
Med Pathol 2011; 7, 317 – 321.
Wilcynski, A. (1997a) Child Homicide. Bell and Bain Ltd.: Glasgow.
Herman-Giddens, ME., Smith, JB, Mittal, M., Carlson; M. & Butts, JD. Newborns
killed or left to die by a parent: A population based study. JAMA 2003; 289: 1425
Mendlowicz, MV, Jean-Lois G, Gekker M, & Rapaport, MH. Neonaticide in the city of
Rio de Janeiro: forensic and psychological perspectives. J Forensic Sci 1999; 44: 741 -5.
Spinelli, MG. A systematic investigation of 16 cases of neonaticide. Am J Psychiatry
2001; 158: 811 – 813.
Vellu, N., Cook, JM. & Tursz, A. Analysis of the relationship between neonaticide
and denial of pregnancy using data from judicial files. Child Abuse & Neglect,
Miller. LJ. Psychotic denial of pregnancy: Phenomenology and clinical
management. Hospital and Community Psychiatry 1990; 41: 1233 – 1237.
Nau, M., Bender, E. & Strett, J. Psychotic denial of pregnancy: Legal and treatment
considerations for clinicians. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law, 2011; 39: 31 – 9.
Mendlowicz, MV., Rapaport, MH., Fontenelle, L., Jean-Louis, G. & De Moraes, TM.
Amnesia and neonaticide. Am J Psychiatry, 2002; 159: 498.
Resnick, PJ. & Hatters-Friedman, S. Book review: Infanticide: Psychosocial and
legal perspectives on mothers who kill. Psychiatric Services 2003; 54: 1172.
Spinelli, MG. Dr. Spinelli replies. Am J Psychiatry, 2002; 159: 499.
Friedman, SH., Heneghan, A. & Rosenthal, M. Characteristics of women who deny
or conceal pregnancy. Psychosomatics 2007; 48: 117 – 122.
Wessel, J. & Buscher, U. Denial of pregnancy: population based study. British
Medical Journal 2002; 324: 458.
Del Giudice, M. The evolutionary biology of cryptic pregnancy: A re-appraisal of
the “denied pregnancy” phenomenon. Medical Hypotheses, 2006; 68: 250 – 258.
Brezinka, C., Hunter, O., Biebl, W. Kinzl, J. Denial of Pregnancy: Obstetrical aspects.
J Psychosom Obstet Gynecol, 1994; 15: 1 – 8.
Mendlowicz, MV., Fontenelle, L. & De Moraes, TM. Motives for neonaticide. JAMA
2003; 290: 462 – 3.
Drescher-Burke, K., Krall, J. & Penick, A. Discarded infants and neonaticide:
A review of the literature 2004. Berkeley, CA: National Abandoned Infants
Assistance Resource Center, University of California at Berkeley.
Mackay, R.D. The consequences of killing very young children. Criminal Law
Review, 1993: 21 – 30.
Wilcynski, A. Mad or bad? Child killers, gender and the courts. British Journal of
Criminology 1997; 37: 419 - 436.
Läkartidningen, 2007; 104: 776 – 781.
Grünfeldt, B. & Steen, J. Fatal barnemishandling – barnedrap i Norge. Tidsskr Nor
Lægeforen 1984; 104: 289 – 292.
Skjeldestad, FE. Prevensjonsbruken i Norge i 2005. Tidsskr Nor Lægeforen 2007;
21, 2803 – 5.
Eskild, A., Nesheim, B., Busund, B., Vatten., L. & Vangen, S. Childbearing or
induced abortion: the impact of education and ethnic background. Population
study of Norwegian and Pakistani women in Oslo, Norway. Acta Obstetricia et
Gynecologica 2007: 86: 298 – 303.