09/2014 – 07/2017
Fritz Thyssen Foundation (until 4/2017) and own funds
Prof. Dr. Theresia Höynck (University of Kassel, Institute for Sociology, departement rights of childhood and youth)
Child homicides have been seen over the years to spark massive public outrage and in some cases fierce debate about the background to such crimes, how society deals with the perpetrators, and potential preventive strategies. To date, however, there has been very little meaningful research into the phenomenon. The available official statistics do not even indicate how many children of what age have been killed in what period, while existing research findings relate without exception to fairly small, selective samples and therefore fail to provide a full picture. Yet accurate information on the anatomy of and trends in child homicides is needed in order to improve prevention strategies, detection and prosecution.
The study – a follow-on project to the KFN research project on homicides of children aged 0-5 in Germany – therefore has several focuses of enquiry. Firstly, it aims to generate reliable data on the nature of child homicides. Secondly, it identifies causes, circumstances and risk factors. Thirdly, it analyses these in order to draw conclusions for the prevention of child homicides. Fourthly, and in parallel to the foregoing, it investigates the detection, investigation and criminal prosecution of child homicides. This entails an analysis of investigation files on all cases of intentional, completed homicides of children aged 6-13 for the period 1997-2012, comprising a total of 518 cases according to the Police Crime Statistics.