Few crimes generate public reaction than those where a mother murders her child. We are repelled, yet mesmerised by the emerging details of cases such as Andrea Yates and Susan Smith. Annually, hundreds of infants and young children perish at the hands of their mothers. How could a mother destroy the first and most fundamental relationship we experience? In Why Mothers Kill: A Forensic Psychologist's Casebook, Geoffrey R. McKee, Ph.D uses more than a dozen case studies from his 29-year forensic psychological evaluation practice to help us understand, and most importantly, prevent these horrific events from occurring. He applies current research findings to analyse, explain and suggest practical interventions to alter the personal, familial and situational circumstances that may influence some mothers to kill. With an emphasis on prevention, Dr McKee sets out specific strategies that might have been employed at various "risk intervention points" occurring before the child's death. Through the use of extended narratives the author brings to life the thoughts and emotions experienced by women in each of the five categories of mothers he has identified from his years of practice. Additionally, the author presents the Maternal Filicide Risk Matrix which he developed to help mental health and medical professionals determine the risk and protective factors that lead mothers to kill their children. Students, as well as mental health and medical professionals will find this an important and unique resource.
1. Introduction ; 2. Neonaticide, Infanticide and Filicide: What Do We Know? ; 3. Classification of Maternal Filicide: What Do We Know? ; 4. Risk Analysis and the Maternal Filicide Risk Matrix ; 5. Prevention and Risk Intervention Points ; 6. Detached Mother, Denial Type: Cathy ; 7. Detached Mother, Ambivalent Type: Edna ; 8. Detached Mother, Resentful Type: Francine ; 9. Detached Mother, Exhausted Type: Glenda ; 10. Abusive/Neglectful Mother, Recurrent Type: Harriet ; 11. Abusive/Neglectful Mother, Reactive Type: Janet ; 12. Abusive/Neglectful Mother, Inadequate Type: Kaye ; 13. Psychotic/Depressed Mother, Delusional Type: Barbara ; 14. Psychotic/Depressed Mother, Impulsive Type: Susan Smith ; 15. Psychotic/Depressed Mother, Suicidal Type: Marilyn ; 16. Retaliatory Mother: Olivia ; 17. Psychopathic Mother, Financial Type: Pauline ; 18. Psychopathic Mother, Addicted Type: Samantha ; 19. Psychopathic mother, Narcissistic Type: Rhonda ; 20. Final thoughts: What Have We Learned and What Do We Need to Do?
"This book provides a fresh perspective on the psychological forces that cause mothers to kill their children through systematic in depth analyses. It offers a wonderful combination of humanity and scientific rigor."-- Phillip J. Resnick, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry, Case Medical School "In Why Mothers Kill: A Forensic Psychologist's Casebook, Geoff McKee offers the kind of explanations that have been carefully developed through the discerning eye of an experienced forensic clinician. The cases are varied and rich in detail; the explanatory framework is clear and well supported by the cases. Any judge, lawyer, clinician, mental health administrator, or policy-maker needing to know more about this topic will find Why Mothers Kill to be invaluable."-- Kirk Heilbrun, Ph.D., ABPP, Professor and Head, Department of Psychology, Drexel University "Geoffrey McKee has written a superbly readable and scholarly book on the complex issues involved in filicide. His book makes a significant contribution to understanding the multiple paths which lead to mothers killing their offspring. A wide range of professionals and laypersons should have this book as a resource to help in the prevention and interventions of mothers at risk for filicide."-- George R. Holmes, PhD, Distinguished Professor, University of South Carolina Medical School "McKee's thorough review of research in cases of murders by mothers led to his development of the Maternal Filicide Risk Matrix, a tool helpful in understanding the risk and protective factors affecting such perpetrators. More than a dozen case histories included in this casebook demonstrate its value in differentiating causal factors and mental states of these women. The book should be read by all who deal with troubled females, especially those females who are pregnant or who have young children."-- Lita Linzer Schwartz, Ph.D., ABPP, Distinguished Professor Emerita, The Pennsylvania State University "McKee has produced a wonderfully useful resource for all those who are concerned with the persistence of the seemingly incomprehensible crime of maternal filicide. Perhaps his greatest contribution is the creation of a Maternal Filicide Risk Matrix, which enables us to understand these mothers' acts in the context of their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. Using this risk matrix, we are afforded a clear view of the flash points of risk - the moments when intervention might have made a vital difference in saving the lives of these children, and of their mothers. As such, in spite of its sad topic, this book is replete with optimism and points the way to a future in which this crime truly will be preventable."-- Michelle Oberman, JD, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University School of Law, Co-author, Mothers Who Kill Their Children: Understanding the Acts of Moms from Susan Smith to the "Prom Mom" (NYU Press, 2001) "This book was both stimulating and insightful, as well as provides a clear account of the parameters to which he was working...I believe this book to be an invaluable resource. Indeed, I would advocate that each child protection team and social work department have access to a copy of this book in order to assist in the prevention of this type of crime."--Jim Dunn, Metropolitan Police Service, Child Abuse Investigation Training, UK