An Exploratory Study of the Prosecution of Fatal Child Maltreatment: Criminal Charges Filed Against Presumed Perpetrators in the United States in 2017

Kerry A. Lee, Emily M. Douglas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In the United States child maltreatment fatalities (CMFs) do not usually meet the standard for manslaughter or murder, resulting in convictions of lesser crimes and little jail time. This exploratory study examined the charges brought against suspected CMF perpetrators in 2017. Univariate and bivariate analyses were conducted using data obtained from the Nexis Uni newspaper database, that has over 40,000 high quality media sources, for the year 2017. We found that the most frequently used charges were endangering the welfare of a child and murder, the former of which was more related to neglect-deaths and the latter to physical abuse-deaths. There was no difference between charges for male and female perpetrators. Practical implications for research, policy, and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)638-650
Number of pages13
JournalViolence and Victims
Volume36
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • child homicide
  • child maltreatment
  • child maltreatment fatalities
  • criminal charges

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