Filicide, the Law and Gender - Does the law reflect a gendered perspective to the issue of filicide in Malaysia?

Jashpal Kaur Bhatt, Daleleer Kaur Randawar

Abstract


The term filicide refers to the killing of a child by a parent. Filicide may occur as result of a parent's neglect or act of killing of the child or by abandonment of the child or "baby dumping" which results in the death of the child. Over the years, many sensational stories have emerged painting gory scenarios of women throwing away their babies to certain death over apartment balconies, out of windows of apartments or even dumping them. Much attention has therefore been focused on the issue of the killing of the babies and women's liability for such deaths under various criminal provisions due to perceived notions of mothering and women's roles in society. What seems to have escaped attention is the question of whether justice is served by charging these women under serious charges such as murder as opposed to the lesser charge of infanticide and the role and therefore liability of the fathers of these unfortunate infants. This article will examine the issue of filicide of an infant by its mother from the perspective of a consideration of the law that applies and to determine whether there is a gendered perspective to the law's response to such incidents. The conclusion to be drawn is that gender inequalities have emerged in the response of the law to filicide in Malaysia.


Keywords


Filicide, Infanticide, Women, Gender, Criminal Law, Malaysia

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