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Child murder

Note: for practices of systematically killing very young children, see infanticide


The physical and mental vulnerability of children requires that people in general are strongly protective of children. For this reason, the murder of children is considered a particularly abhorrent crime in most cultures.

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Killing by family members vs. killing by strangers

A great many murderers of children are relatives or carers: see child abuse, sexual abuse. The killing of children often follows on from child abuse which started as attempts at discipline through corporal punishment: as, for example, in the Victoria Climbié[?] case which occurred in London.

Some murderers of children are pedophiles who commit lust murder[?] or commit murder to cover up their other crimes. These latter cases are more notorious, although killings by family members are more common.

There have been a number of moral panics related to child murder, of which the most notable is the satanic ritual abuse phenomenon, where reports of organized killings of large numbers of children by satanic gangs have failed to be corroborated in spite of decades of investigation.

These moral panics have tended to obscure those rare cases where actual pedophile gangs have acted to prey upon children.

Killing of children by other children

In most countries, there are very few cases where children are killed by other young children. One was the killing in 1993 of the almost three-year-old boy James Bulger[?] by two ten-years-old boys in Northern England: he was beaten and stoned to death and his body left on the train tracks to make it appear that he had died by being hit by a train. Also there is the Mary Bell case in the United Kingdom. These cases were regarded with national shock and revulsion.

The United States has an unusual level of killings of children by other children, often in multiple gun killings such as the Columbine massacre. These killings have led to a number of reactions in the United States in attempts to reduce the number of similar killings in the future.

In 1993 after the sniper killing of Dantrell Davis as he walked to school, the Chicago Tribune put every child murder on the front page (generally no murders were front page news). 62 child murders were reported that year.

Genocide and child soldiers

to be written: see child soldier, genocide

Muti killings

Muti is a murderous practice of human sacrifice and mutilation associated with some traditional cultural practices, such as Sangoma, in South Africa. Victims of muti killings are often children. A child whose decapitated torso washed was found in the Thames river in London in 2001 is believed to have been the victim of a muti killing. More >> (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1723795.stm)

Infamous cases of child murder



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