n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The role of substance abuse and related family disorders on filicide in South Africa

Volume 27, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



This research article investigates the role of substance abuse related family disorders in filicide. This explorative study examined five filicide cases that made headlines in the South African media over the past 20 years. The findings showed that there is indeed reason to be concerned about the relationship between substance abuse and related family disorders, economic deprivation and filicide. The study suggests that economic deprivation may have an indirect causal effect on filicide in South Africa. The literature showed that substance abuse and especially alcohol played an underlying factor in the five cases under review. Other risk factors associated with filicide include unemployment which led to financial difficulties, extra-marital affairs, family violence, verbal and emotional abuse, mental problems such as depression and misuse of medication, family isolation and general familial dysfunction. Further research may look at more case studies and a longitudinal perspective on filicide. Such research should focus on how the presence of social support and medical services affect the prevalence of these incidents. Simultaneously, there is also a need to determine whether individuals who engage in filicide had access to social support services prior to the incident. These types of studies will shed light on this rare phenomenon and provide more concrete analyses so that social agencies can work to create policies that may successfully prevent its occurrence.

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