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When Caregivers Kill: Understanding Child Murder by Parents and Other Guardians [Hardcover]

Betty L. Alt , Sandra K. Wells
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 16, 2010 1442200774 978-1442200777 1
From mothers who kill their children in postpartum fugues, to fathers who murder their kids for revenge against an estranged wife, the stories in this book are chilling yet real, and bring home the message that children are vulnerable to violence even in the care of those who should love and protect them the most. Sadly, child murder by parents and caregivers happens more frequently than one might guess, and while each case is different, there are often warning signs that something might be amiss. Signs of physical abuse may precede the ultimate act of murder. A mother's mental state after the birth of a child may signal true distress and the potential for extreme actions. No one can predict with certainty when a parent or other caregiver may snap, but here Alt and Wells examine many cases of child murder to find out what they have in common, how we might prevent such violence, and what more we can do to protect children in potentially explosive situations.

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When Caregivers Kill: Understanding Child Murder by Parents and Other Guardians + Heavy Hands: An Introduction to the Crimes of Intimate and Family Violence (5th Edition) (New 2013 Counseling Titles)
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Editorial Reviews


It's an undeniably grisly topic, but authors Betty Alt and Sandra Wells handle it respectfully in their new book, "When Caregivers Kill: Understanding Child Murder by Parents and Other Guardians."...Filled with interesting information. (The Sunday Chieftain and Star-Journal, May 23, 2010)

Alt and Wells make a solid contribution to the literature in this disturbing area, offering a fine balance between case details, theory, treatment, and the law. They competently capture the challenges and tensions involved in the issue of fatal caretakers, keeping compassion in perspective with genuine criminal behavior. Anyone who teaches on this subject or who deals with these offenders clinically or in court should have this book in their collection. It's a fine reference as well as a readable overview of what the most prominent experts and researchers have discovered. (Katherine Ramsland, professor of forensic psychology and author of Inside the Minds of Healthcare Serial Killers)

About the Author

Betty L. Alt is author or co-author of twelve books including Policewomen: Life with the Badge, Following the Flag: Marriage and the Modern Military, and others. She is a lecturer in sociology and criminology at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

Sandra K. Wells is co-author with Betty Alt of Wicked Women, Fleecing Grandma and Grandpa, and other titles. She recently retired after twenty-nine years in law enforcement, fifteen as Chief Investigator with the Pueblo County, Colorado District Attorney's office. She lectures in criminology at Pueblo Community College.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 1 edition (April 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442200774
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442200777
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,574 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous research February 4, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Meticulously researched, WHEN CAREGIVERS KILL is also a dry, repetitive read, consisting more of a factual list of the unimaginable ways that caregivers - from parents to babysitters ¬- find to kill defenceless children. Motives and reasons for the brutal killings were given, but not fully explored. Referencing of sources was very good.

I didn't expect to enjoy this book, but I did expect to be moved by it. Unfortunately, there were only a few times when the victims became "real" enough that I could feel a twinge of any kind of emotion.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Meaghan
This is a remarkably shallow analysis of child abuse and murder. According to the notes, the authors usually didn't dig much deeper than reading news articles about the crimes, and much of the book covers the murders in only a few sentences each. Court documents were generally not consulted and the killers themselves were not interviewed. Give this one a miss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad but Good Read September 22, 2010
Her books are always well written and an easy read...and on a variety of topics.

This one has interesting material and is well-researched but not light reading. Sad so many children are killed by the ones who should protect them...
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Hard Read: September 28, 2010
Very Well Written:
Very Well Researched:
It is a VERY HARD read.
It is hard to believe that people that you trust and depend upon, can be so cold, cruel and heartless.
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