Homicides and Maltreatment-Related Deaths of Disabled Children: A Systematic Review-   This article aims to systematically review the empirical literature in relation to the homicides and maltreatment-related deaths of disabled children in order to better understand the risk factors and to assess support for the explanatory theories posited. These theories include: (1) the stress of care-giving; (2) altruistic intent; (3) lack of bonding with the child; (4) the challenging behaviors of the child; (5) cultural beliefs about disabled children; and (6) evolutionary imperatives. Systematic searching techniques were used to retrieve relevant research articles in six electronic databases: AMED, CINAHL, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Medline (PubMed), PsycINFO and SCOPUS. The issue of a child being disabled was identified as a risk factor in most reviewed articles, however the definition of the term ‘disability’ was not consistent nor was there a consistent approach to recording children’s disability. A range of potential risk factors were found, relating to the child, the perpetrator and the environment, with the pathway to harming the child involving an interactive process between each of these. The stress of care-giving and altruistic theories were the two most common explanations for homicides and maltreatment-related deaths of disabled children, although a combination of theories may provide a more comprehensive explanation of these complex events.

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