Murders could just be a coincidence, expert says

Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, a psychologist who is the longtime director of the National Council of the Child, said the horrific series of child murders by their parents in recent weeks could be just a coincidence. "I can't say if it was a copycat phenomenon, as there is nothing in the scientific literature to prove it. But there have been things in common in these most recent cases," said Kadman. "They all involved children with behavior or health problems. Single-parent families are also at higher risk, as are those of immigrants - but that is certainly not to say that the majority of single parents, parents whose children have problems and immigrants are not devoted parents." He noted that in a foreign study of 32 children murdered by their parents, the children had an average age of four, the same age as the murdered Israeli children. The succession of murders in the last few weeks was unusual, said Kadman, but every year, an average of five or six children are murdered by family members. Asked for verbal or non-verbal signs that the general public could use to detect a possible case of child abuse, the council said such children may give hints such as saying they know of "somebody who has a problem," or may refuse to go home from a day care center or kindergarten with a parent. If several bruises or if burns appear on a part of their bodies, one should be suspicious. Children with torn or bloody clothes, those who isolate themselves from others, and kids who are very angry and aggressive may be at high risk as well. More information can be obtained (in Hebrew) from the council's Web site at