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Filicide-suicide or a suicide pact? A case report from Sri Lanka with implications for child protection

Authors:

M. Hewagama.,

District General Hospital, Matara,, LK
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S. G. H. Abeypitiya,

District General Hospital, Matara,, LK
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V. Dharmawardene

Teaching Hospital, Ratnapura, LK
About V.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Sabaragamuwa
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Abstract

Parents almost always are protective of their offspring. However, rarely they could be deadly towards children, specially when psychologically disturbed or disordered. In this brief report we discuss an incident of filicide-suicide that rocked Southern Sri Lanka a few years ago. In this incident, a father and three of his four children were found dead by hanging, due to an apparent suicide pact. There were warning signs and concerns raised prior to the incident which did not receive notable assertive action from authorities, as their concerns were limited to sexual abuse, which was found to be negative. This report explores possible motives of the father, as well as lessons for personnel from mental health services, child protection and police for when confronted with children who are in the custody of parents who could pose threat to their life. This case also highlights the need for comprehensive risk assessment and not merely the risk of sexual abuse.
How to Cite: Hewagama., M., Abeypitiya, S.G.H. and Dharmawardene, V., 2021. Filicide-suicide or a suicide pact? A case report from Sri Lanka with implications for child protection. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, 12(2), pp.31–35. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljpsyc.v12i2.8321
Published on 31 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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