Longitudinal Analysis of Australian Filicide Perpetration Trends: Filicide in Victoria, 1860–1920

Abstract

The historical examination of filicide in Australia is limited and often focuses on case studies of maternal filicides. Longitudinal trends of Australian filicide offending have focused almost exclusively on the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Our study aims to fill a gap in Australian criminological knowledge about filicide. Utilising prison and Supreme Court records from 1860 and 1920, we plot the extent of filicide offending by men and women in Victoria to create a more comprehensive picture of filicide perpetration. This study also tests whether identified motives and risk factors for filicide today can be applied to historical data, to make these data accessible to criminologists studying filicide in the twenty-first century.

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Published: 2021-06-01
Pages:50 to 66
Section:Articles
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Author Biographies

Vicky Nagy is Lecturer in Criminology in the School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania. Her research areas are focused on female offending, historical criminology, as well as sexual violence, child sexual abuse, digital sexual harassment, feminist criminology theories and methods, popular culture and crime, and criminological teaching and learning practices.

Her book Nineteenth-Century Female Poisoners: Three Women Who Used Arsenic to Kill was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015.

Monash University
 Australia

Georgina Rychner’s (PhD candidate) dissertation examines public petitioning in capital trials in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Victoria, with specific focus on narratives of insanity. Her research areas include the history of crime and criminal justice, women’s history, the history of psychiatry and historical criminology. Rychner currently teaches criminology at Deakin University and is heavily involved with the Australian and New Zealand Historical Criminology Network.