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ISSN : 1226-6809(Print)
ISSN : 2466-0698(Online)
Correction Review Vol.90 No. pp.3-28

A Study on Infanticide in Korea

Kim Sunghee*, Sung Hyunjun**, Seong Nakyung***
*Professor, Department of Police Science, Korean National Police University/First Author.
**Ph.D. Psychology, Kyonggi University/Co-Author.
***Ph.D. Psychology, Kyonggi University/Corresponding Author


Recently, in order to respect and protect the life of infants, there are discussions on the revision of the crime of infanticide by deleting Article 251 of the Criminal Act and punishing the infanticide as general homicide. In the midst of this, this study aims at understanding the current situation of Infanticide in Korea and suggesting a direction for amendment of the Act. For that purpose, we explored the literature on neonaticide/ infanticide at domestic and abroad, and identified the current status of domestic infanticide, the motive for the homicide, killing method, and the characteristics of the perpetrator based on 46 written judgments of the first-instance cases adjudicated for infanticide between 2013 and 2020 in Korea. As a result of the study, it was identified that the motive for the homicide was that where practically (economically) impossible to bring up, and there was no person to ask for help due to an unwanted pregnancy, and the pregnancy and childbirth were not announced in order to avoid disgrace. As for the killing method, killing without any action immediately after childbirth was used so that infants were killed by suffocating or drowning them in their own residence or in a building that was difficult to access by others. The characteristics of the perpetrators were unmarried biological mothers, and their age was lower than the average age of childbirth in Korea. There were also some subjects, who were not aware of the pregnancy, and there were many cases where the identity of the biological father was not known and the biological father did not know the pregnancy as well. Most of the perpetrators had no mental illness or criminal history. Based on these analysis results, legal recommendations and preventive measures for Infanticide were proposed.