Sarah Cotton with her daughters Chloe (left) and Aubrey (right) taken in October 2017. A Victoria court found their father Andrew Berry guilty in the second degree of their murder in December 2017. That year, Canada recorded a total of 24 family-related homicides and 16 non-family-related homicides involving children and youth. (Photo Ryan MacDonald Photography)

Frustration, anger or despair most common motives in Canadian family homicides

Report finds 285 children and youth victims of family homicide between 2008 and 2018 in Canada

Frustration, anger or despair.

These were the most common motivations in family-related homicides involving child and youth victims, according to a survey of family violence in Canada. According to the report, these motives accounted for 61 per cent of cases between 2008 and 2018.”Regardless of age group, this remained the most common motive for family-related homicide involving child and youth victims,” it reads.

Police across Canada reported 285 cases of family-related homicide involving children and youth between 2008 and 2018, according to the report, which it defines as violence committed by spouses (legally married, separated, divorced and common-law), children (biological, step, adopted and foster), siblings (biological, step, half, adopted and foster) and extended family members (such as grandchildren, nephews, nieces, cousins and in-laws.

RELATED: Oak Bay father Andrew Berry guilty in daughters’ murders

RELATED: Story told by Oak Bay dad who killed daughters ‘defies logic,’ says judge at start of sentencing

Police across Canada also reported 208 cases of non-family homicide involving children and youth between 2008 and 2018. The report defines non-family violence as committed by dating or other intimate partner, friend, casual acquaintance, authority figure, stranger, and other.

In 2018, 16 children and youths were victims of family-related homicides, while 13 children and youths were victims of non-family homicides.

Looking at the broader picture, the report finds that “[family-related] homicides occur within complex interpersonal contexts that often involve a history of violence.”

But the report also includes a small sliver of good news. While children and youth are more commonly victims of family-related homicide than non-family homicide (2.23 versus 1.81 per 1 million population), the rate of family-related homicide against children and youth decreased by 38 per cent, from 3.59 to 2.23 per 1 million population, a decrease from 25 victims in 2008 to 16 victims in 2018.

RELATED: When parents kill – a look at Vancouver Island filicide cases and the minds behind them


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