Research on a socially, ethically, and legally complex phenomenon: Women convicted of filicide in Malaysia

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Little is known about filicide from the perspective of women convicted of the offence. The lack of research is partly attributable to the many difficulties entailed in researching socially marginalised and incarcerated people. Research on filicide engages with socially, culturally, and politically sensitive matters, including gendered social structures and behaviours, legal and ethical complexity, emotionally arousing topics, a rare phenomenon, and hard-to-reach participants. In countries where there is poor surveillance, limited local information, and few resources or experts in filicide, researchers must find innovative ways of overcoming these problems. Here we describe the particular challenges in conducting research on women convicted of filicide in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, when the researchers are based at an Australian university. The persistence, resilience, and creativity required to overcome each problem were justified by the achievement of research that contributes to knowledge and has implications for change in policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-45
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Filicide
  • Incarcerated women
  • Malaysia
  • Research ethics
  • Women

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