Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

"Parent-child murders increasingly rare
'Not an epidemic': High-profiles cases are not evidence of a growing trend, statistics show"

The National Post, By Brad Evenson, March 16, 2002

At first glance, it appears North America is suffering an epidemic of child murder.

This week, as Texas mother Andrea Pia Yates was convicted of drowning her five children, RCMP officers began their grim search for the remains of six Vancouver Island children who died in a suspicious house fire. Their father was charged yesterday with six counts of first-degree murder. Two days later, the search for Toronto two-year-old Alexis Currie ended when her father led police searchers to her body. The same day, a Smiths Falls, Ont., father was charged with killing his daughter.

Yet appearances can be deceptive. The truth is such tragedies are increasingly rare.

In 2000, according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 27 children died at the hands of their parents. The number was the same in 1975 when Canada's population was only 23 million -- 30% smaller than it is today.

In fact, parent-child killings reached their lowest ebb in a quarter-century in 1999, when 26 children died. That is about equal to the annual number of Canadians who starve to death, drown in bathtubs or walk into moving trains.

"Rates of violent crime are decreasing in terms of most indicators, and they're decreasing fairly consistently," said Dr. Philip Klassen, a psychiatrist in the law and mental health program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in Toronto.

"So not only isn't there an epidemic of child murder, there isn't an epidemic of anything as we continue to see a contraction of violent crime."

Dr. Klassen, who studies child murders, said the misperception of a widespread problem comes in the period shortly after a spectacular case, such as the Yates trial.

"They talk about copycat crimes ... but my personal feeling is that there is a copycat element to the media as well," he said. "That is, a murder that might not hit the front page gets on the front page if it happens the day after another murder of a similar nature.

"That's not intended as a criticism," he added. "That's human nature; you piggyback things on to each other like that because it adds to the momentum of the idea."

Even so, experts believe it is possible to reduce the number of child murders even further.

Nicholas Bala, a professor of law at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ont., draws clear lines between different types of child murders. There are cases of mental imbalance, such as that of Yates. There are cases in which parental anger leads to violence, as when a parent shakes a baby to death. And there are divorce or separation cases.

"Usually, it is the father that has lost custody but continues to have access, and is so angry that he intentionally kills his children, largely as a means of revenge," Mr. Bala said.

He thinks many of these separation-revenge cases could be avoided. "When you're dealing with anger ... people actually do get over their anger," he said. "And we know that the time of greatest danger is the period following separation. And if your legal system and our police system ... can protect the woman and children for a period of months, the [threat] will go down because his anger will slowly dissipate."

While men Read More ..equently kill children out of revenge, many women do so because of post-partum depression or other acute mental illness.

Whatever the cause, statistics show neither sex is less prone to child murder. Though men generally kill at 10 times the rate of women, the numbers are nearly equal when it comes to children. For example, in 2000, 15 fathers and stepfathers killed their children in Canada, compared with 9 mothers.

But three years earlier, 26 mothers and stepmothers killed children, compared with 21 fathers and stepfathers.

National Post

Father's suicide becomes rallying cry for fairness in court

April 1, 2000

BRANDON, Man. - Thirty-five years ago today, Lillian White gave birth to her youngest son. Yesterday, she knelt down and kissed his coffin at his graveside.

Darrin White committed suicide two weeks ago in Prince George, B.C., after a judge ordered him to pay his estranged wife twice his take-home pay in child support and alimony each month.

In death he has become a poignant symbol of family courts gone awry, of a divorce system run by people with closed minds, hard hearts and deaf ears. Read More ..

Teen depression on the increase in U.K.- teen suicide statistics

Teen depression on the increase

More and More teens are becoming depressed. The numbers of young people suffering from depression in the last 10 years has risen worryingly, an expert says.

BBC, UK, August 3, 2004

Government statistics suggest one in eight adolescents now has depression.

Unless doctors recognise the problem, Read More ..uld slip through the net, says Professor Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health.

Guidelines on treating childhood depression will be published next year. Professor Kendall says a lot Read More ..eds to be done to treat the illness.  Read More ..

Family Conflict and Suicide Rates Among Men

by Dr. Hazel McBride Ph.D. June 9-10, 1995

Violence and Abuse within the Family: The Neglected Issues

A public hearing sponsored by The Honourable Senator Anne C. Cools on June 9-10, 1995 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Transcript of Dr. Hazel McBride's presentation on the relationship between family conflict and suicide rates among men.  Read More ..


Reasons Why Young Men Commit Suicide

PA News, U.S.A., By John von Radowitz, Science Correspondent, September 28, 2003

Broken marriages, living a single life and lack of income are the three factors chiefly to blame for a surge in suicides among young men, a new study has shown.

Suicide rates in England and Wales have doubled for men under 45 since 1950, but declined among women and older age groups of both sexes.

Researchers trying to discover why found that between 1950 and 1998 there were worsening trends for many suicide risk factors.

These included marital break up, birth and marriage declines, unemployment and substance abuse.

But those most associated with young men aged 25 to 34 were divorce, fewer marriages, and increases in income inequality.

National Post logo

Quebec men more likely to commit suicide than women

Rate is especially high among baby boomers, statistics reveal. Read More ..

Centre for Suicide Prevention

Centre for Suicide Prevention 

The Centre for Suicide Prevention has three main branches:

The Suicide Information & Education Collection (SIEC) is a special library and resource centre providing information on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

The Suicide Prevention Training Programs (SPTP) branch provides caregiver training in suicide intervention, awareness, bereavement, crisis management and related topics. Suicide Prevention

Research Projects (SPRP)  advocates for, and supports research on suicide and suicidal behaviour.

invisible suicides

Invisible Suicides

StatsCan recently reported on a 10% increase in suicides. But StatsCan persists in ignoring the group of Canadians at greatest risk for suicide, as do the media and professional reports.

Suicide is a microcosm for those most under stress and most at risk of unresolved crisis in society. Suicides may logically be categorized as 100% citizens of Canada, and then as 79% male. The most critical measure of depression - suicide - is counted overwhelmingly in male corpses. For over 23 years widespread media and professional attention concentrated on 12,500 AIDS deaths, compared to little concern with 92,000 suicides.  Read More ..