Healing the Child When One Parent Kills the Other

By Waterhouse, Rosie | The Independent (London, England), August 19, 1994 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Healing the Child When One Parent Kills the Other

Waterhouse, Rosie, The Independent (London, England)

THE RESULTS of a study into the effects on children when one parent kills the other are to be presented at a conference of child psychiatrists next month.

Every year in England and Wales the courts convict between 40 and 50 men and a handful of women of killing their partners, leaving any children effectively orphaned.

Until recently there was no specialist knowledge or service for such bereaved children. Academic papers had considered the possibility of psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, but not how best to treat and counsel these children; how to assess where they should live in the short and long term; how to help them grieve; how to decide on contact with the surviving parent; and ultimately how to enable them to grow up without too many emotional and psychological scars.

Last year at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, north London, a special clinic opened for children who have suffered acute psychological trauma. And on 1 September at a conference of the Association of Child Psychologists and Psychiatrists in Winchester, Hampshire, Dr Dora Black, the child psychiatrist in charge of the clinic, will present the findings of the world's first study into the effects on children after one parent has killed the other. The research was conducted with other child psychiatrists involved with the clinic, Dr Jean Harris Hendricks and Dr Tony Kaplan.

Since 1986 they have seen 270 children from about 100 families; in about 12 cases the mother was the killer. The treatment tries to limit post- traumatic stress symptoms through "crisis intervention" thus preventing, they hope, long-term emotional and psychological problems.

The doctors help the children talk about what they saw and how they feel. The child is encouraged to draw a picture or tell a story about the traumatic experience. "Families" of dolls are also used to help re-enact the scene.

In their book When Father Kills Mother: Guiding Children through Trauma and Grief, the doctors draw up basic principles for dealing with the impact on children and the aftermath.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Healing the Child When One Parent Kills the Other


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?