Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 151–158 | Cite as

“Nobody came to help”: interviews with women convicted of filicide in Malaysia

  • Salmi Razali
  • Jane Fisher
  • Maggie KirkmanEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Filicide


Although filicide is of serious concern, it is poorly understood in Malaysia. Our interviews with health and policy professionals revealed that they attribute responsibility for filicide to women’s failure to comply with social norms and religious teachings. This research sought to understand the meaning of and background to filicide from the perspectives of women who have been convicted of filicide in Malaysia. In-depth interviews were conducted in person with all eligible and consenting women convicted of filicide and incarcerated in prisons or forensic psychiatric institutions. Women’s accounts were translated into English and analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis and interpreted using narrative theory. Interviews with nine women convicted of filicide yielded evidence that others were implicated in the crime but punished less severely, if at all, and that the women had experienced lifelong gender-based violence and marginalisation with minimal access to health and social care. These findings illuminate an inadequately understood phenomenon in Malaysia and reveal why existing strategies to reduce filicide, which reflect key stakeholders’ views, have had little impact. They reveal the pervasive harm of violence against women and children and its link to filicide.


Filicide Gendered perspectives Women in society Malaysia Violence against women 


Funding information

Dr Razali was supported by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme, Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia, grant 600-RMI/SSP/FRGS/5/3/Fsp (68/2010). Professor Fisher is supported by a Monash Professorial Fellowship and the Jean Hailes Professorial Fellowship funded by the L&H Hecht Trust managed by Perpetual Trustees Pty Ltd.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Psychological and Behavioural Medicine, Faculty of MedicineUniversiti Teknologi MARASungai BulohMalaysia
  2. 2.Jean Hailes Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive MedicineMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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