How Violence Can Drive a Child to Murder

by BeckyGay1 on October 28, 2016 - 11:50am

     Child abuse is a topic that generates feelings of both sadness and anger to anyone who hears about a case. Children are supposed to be able to trust their parent, so when a parent or other close relative abuses a child, it can have a number of negative impacts on the child that could affect them for the rest of their lives. It can also have another, scarier effect; it could lead a child to commit homicide. Could a child that has been exposed to physical, mental, and/or social abuse though all of their life all of a sudden one day snap and commit an act of murder? Yes, sadly, child abuse can lead to an abused child committing murder or another violent act or behavior. Also, just being exposed to violence may impact a child’s future negatively.

     While I was doing some research on this topic, I found an article that explains that children, who are exposed to violence, can become violent themselves in the future and also suffer from other negative behaviors like anxiety, attachment problems, and even depression. According to this article, exposure to violence disrupts a child’s developing brain. Regions of the brain, such as the amygdala (part of the brain that regulates fear), are greatly affected by stress which could include violence. Also children who have had severe exposure to real or perceived threats against them, will learn to react with fear to activity’s that are not normally stressful or scary such as eating dinner with family.

     Exposure to violence can lead a child to become violent in the future, but can repeated child abuse lead to the murder of a family member or another child? In 2011, Christian Fernandez, who was 13 years old at the time, killed his two-year old half-brother by beating him to death. Fernandez was severely abused as a child. He was often neglected and was also sexually abused by his cousin and stepfather. In Collie, Australia in 2006, two girls murdered 15-year-old Eliza Davis at a party. Their reason; they did it for fun.

     As the case in Australia demonstrates, not all cases of violent acts are the result of a rough childhood. Some people may just have chemical imbalances in their brains that result in irate behavior or maybe a child was just raised in a way that makes them act a certain way, for example, a child is raised to always be assertive, and to take what is theirs no matter what. So, can violent pasts and child abuse cause a child to commit murder in the future? Yes, but that also may not always be the case.


     Sources:  Child Trends. (2016). Children's exposure to violence. Retrieved  October 27, 2016 from

Sutton, Candace (2016). The thrill of the kill: The sinister youngsters who murdered other children 'for the fun of it' in chilling crimes that shocked their parents and stunned the nation. Retrieved October 27, 2016 from

Umansky, Natalie (2014). 8 Evil Kids Who Murdered Someone. Retrieved September 23, 2016 from




Thanks for the post! It was a great read. I particularly liked the fact that you included the story of Christian Fernandez in your article to reinforce the point you’re trying to make. Including this particular story (which you said took place in 2011) shows that violent behaviour amongst young boys and men caused by abuse or exposure to violent content is an issue that is especially relevant in the 21st century. Like you stated in your article, violent pasts and child abuse may cause a child to commit violent acts in their future. You also mention however that this may not be the only reason why they would commit these horrific acts and I completely agree. Policing masculinity, or the way society exerts the social pressure on men to conform to the expectations of hegemonic masculinity, can also lead to negative consequences and violent behaviour. From a young age, we teach boys to be a “real man” and show the world only the aggressive and hostile side of their personality. As a society, we continue to fail to give men emotional literacy and to teach them that it is okay to express their emotions freely. This results in built up frustration over the years that eventually turns into anger, which is expressed either inwards (physical harm to themselves) or outwards (physical harm to others). There are so many factors that result in violent behaviour, especially in young males. Your article makes reference to a very important issue in our society and one that we should all acknowledge.

I’ve attached below an article that is related to this particular issue.

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