Children Who Murder: A Psychological Perspective

By Robert V. Heckel; David M. Shumaker | Go to book overview

Chapter 1

Who Are They?

An increasing concern regarding trends in juvenile homicide has resulted in a series of excellent reviews and analyses providing a database for further study and investigation. Unfortunately, because of the structure of these approaches few statistics are currently available on our target group, preteen murderers. When we ask “Who are they, these preteens who commit murders?” we may believe the obvious answer is to be found by simple consulting of official statistics from state and federal agencies and searching through published reports in professional journals. Unfortunately, as this chapter will describe, state and federal sources often fail to discriminate between age groups for those under 18, despite some very obvious logical groupings used in descriptions of young persons: Schools, for example, separate between grade, middle, and high schools. Developmental psychologists used landmark events such as physical maturation (puberty, cognitive ability, moral reasoning, causality, etc.) to reflect different levels of functioning.

Heide (1993b), in her article on weapons used by juveniles to kill parents, indicates that the available statistical sources characteristics of the victim and the offender “are not presented according to the relationship of the victim and the offender.” Descriptions of the children who kill parents and descriptions of the slain parents are not presented. Lack of in-depth data, according to her report, can in part be overcome by combining existing re-

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Children Who Murder: A Psychological Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page III
  • Contents V
  • Foreword VII
  • Introduction XIX
  • Part I - The Research 1
  • Chapter 1 - Who Are They? 3
  • Chapter 2 - What Are They Like? 19
  • Chapter 3 - Who Will Kill? 31
  • Chapter 4 - By What Means Are They Dealt? 53
  • Part II - Developmental Issues 65
  • Chapter 5 - Moral Development 67
  • Chapter 6 - The Changing Family 83
  • Part III - Assessment and Interventions 99
  • Chapter 7 - Assessment 101
  • Chapter 8 - Treatment and Rehabilitation 121
  • Chapter 9 - Prevention 141
  • Summary and Conclusions 155
  • References 163
  • Index 175
  • About the Authors 179
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