Note: for practices of systematically killing very young children, see infanticide

The murder of children is considered a particularly abhorrent crime in most cultures; their physical and emotional vulnerability requires that people in general are strongly protective of them.

Table of contents
1 Killing by family members vs. killing by strangers
2 Killing of children by other children
3 Genocide and child soldiers
4 Muti killings
5 See also
6 Traditional stories connected with child murder

Killing by family members vs. killing by strangers

A great many murderers of children are relatives or carers.

In ancient times, a possible successor of a king or his supporters may try to eliminate other potential challengers or a coup d'etat to overflow a child king would both result in child murders.

In modern times, the killing of children often follows on from child abuse which started as attempts at discipline through corporal punishment: as, for example, in the Victoria Climbié case which occurred in London.

Some murderers of children are pedophiles who commit lust murder or commit murder to cover up their other crimes. These latter cases are more notorious, although killings by family members are more common.

There have been a number of moral panics related to child murder, of which the most notable is the satanic ritual abuse phenomenon, where reports of organized killings of large numbers of children by satanic gangs have failed to be corroborated in spite of decades of investigation.

These moral panics have tended to obscure those rare cases where actual pedophile gangs have acted to prey upon children.

Several cases of exorcism carried out by family members or religious groups have resulted in the murders of children.

Killing of children by other children

In most countries, there are very few cases where children are killed by other young children. One was the killing on November 24, 1993 of the almost three-year-old boy Jamie Bulger by two ten-years-old boys in Liverpool, England, UK. He was beaten and stoned to death and his body left on the train tracks to make it appear that he had died by being hit by a train. Also there is the Mary Bell case in the UK, although the verdict was manslaughter not murder. These cases were regarded with national shock and revulsion, fed by the taboid press.

Although the United States certainly has an unusually high number of killings of children by other children, it is most often the case that the perpetrators and victims are teenagers, not children. In many such cases, the youthful perpetrator is tried as an adult for their crime. A disturbingly typical event of this sort is the use of a gun to effect multiple killings in a school setting, such as the Columbine massacre.

In 1993 after the sniper killing of Dantrell Davis as he walked to school, the Chicago Tribune put every child murder on the front page (generally no murders were front page news). 62 child murders were reported that year.

Genocide and child soldiers

to be written: see child soldier, genocide

Muti killings

Muti is a murderous practice of human sacrifice and mutilation associated with some traditional cultural practices, such as Sangoma, in South Africa. Victims of muti killings are often children. An unknown child (referred to as Adam), whose decapitated torso washed was found in the River Thames in London in 2001 is believed to have been the victim of a muti killing. [1]

See also

Traditional stories connected with child murder