Overlaps and gaps in understanding filicide in Malaysia: Framework analysis of the perspectives of convicted women and service providers

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Despite strategies in Malaysia to reduce filicide—the crime of a parent killing a child—rates have not decreased. We used framework analysis to identify commonalities and disparities in understanding among service providers and women convicted of filicide, ascertained in individual interviews. While service providers believed that filicide was predominantly neonaticide of ex-nuptial newborns, women explained that it occurred in the context of violence. Service providers suggested that unmarried mothers were perpetrators, whereas women reported that men were responsible. Service providers accused young people, women, and girls of being naïve, under-informed about sexuality, and insufficiently religious. In contrast, women emphasised that filicide was attributable to having an irresponsible, violent, or drug-addicted spouse or partner who abandoned them to experience pregnancy and birth alone; who oppressed, drugged, and sexually assaulted them, often inducing psychological disturbance (denial of pregnancy, dissociative states, or major mental illnesses); or who imprisoned and abused the women and their children. Service providers believed the pathway to filicide was the failure of the younger generation to conform to religious norms, but women described filicide occurring because of social and gender inequalities. Both acknowledged the contribution of low socioeconomic position, limited educational opportunities, lack of knowledge about mental health and sexuality, women’s lack of agency, inaccessible services, inflexible work cultures, marginalisation of women and children, and sociocultural stigma of unmarried mothers. National strategies are more likely to be effective if gender-based violence and discrimination against women and children in Malaysia are addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of ICWC 2016 Sunbang Jaya, Malaysia
PublisherUniversiti Teknologi MARA
Pages31 - 38
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-967-0171-65-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventInternational Conference on Women and Children: Legal and Social Issues - Dorsett Grand Subang, Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Duration: 17 Oct 201618 Oct 2016
Conference number: 1st


ConferenceInternational Conference on Women and Children
Abbreviated titleICWC 2016
CitySubang Jaya
Internet address

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