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|HOMICIDES COMMITTED BY WOMEN WITH MENTAL DISORDERS|
Homicides committed by women with mental disorders [Recurso eletrónico] : a descriptive study conducted in a French secure unit / Koucha Kazemian ..[et al.]
Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 68, n. 2 (March 2023), p. 568-577
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CRIMINALIDADE FEMININA, HOMICÍDIO, DOENÇA MENTAL
Women remain a small minority of homicide offenders and appear to be understudied in the scientific literature. Gender-specific characteristics are however identified by existing studies. The aim of the study was to explore homicides committed by women with mental disorders, by analyzing their sociodemographic, clinical features, and criminological circumstances of the homicide. We conducted a retrospective and descriptive study among all female homicide offenders with mental disorders hospitalized in a French high-secure unit over a 20-year period (n = 30). We found that the female patients we studied were a diverse group in terms of their clinical profiles, backgrounds, and criminological characteristics. Confirming previous studies, we observed an overrepresentation of young women, unemployed, with a destabilized family situation and history of adverse childhood experiences. Prior self- and hetero-aggressive behavior were frequent. We found a history of suicidal behavior in 40% of cases. Their homicidal acts often occurred impulsively at home, in the evening or at night and were mainly directed toward family members (60%), especially their child(ren) (46.7%), then acquaintances (36.7%), and rarely a stranger. We found symptomatic and diagnostic heterogeneity: schizophrenia (40%), schizoaffective disorder (10%), delusional disorder (6.7%), mood disorders (26.7%), and borderline personality disorder (16.7%). Mood disorders were exclusively unipolar or bipolar depressions, often with psychotic features. The majority of patients had received psychiatric care prior to the act. We identified four subgroups, according to psychopathology and criminal motives: delusional (46.7%), melancholic (20%), homicide-suicide dynamic (16.7%), and impulsive outbursts (16.7%). We consider that further studies are necessary.