Homicide of children aged 6-13 years in Germany

Project period

09/2014 – 07/2017

Project staff

Monika Haug (Project manager since 11/2015)

Dr. Ulrike Zähringer (Project manager until 10/2015)


Fritz Thyssen Foundation (until 4/2017) and own funds

Cooperation partner

Prof. Dr. Theresia Höynck (University of Kassel, Institute for Sociology, departement rights of childhood and youth)

Project description

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.

Project related publications
  • Haug, M.; Zähringer, U. (2017): Tötungsdelikte an 6- bis 13-jährigen Kindern in Deutschland. Eine kriminologische Untersuchung anhand von Strafverfahrensakten (1997 bis 2012). KFN-Forschungsberichte No. 134. Hannover: KFN. Download