Infanticide: What is the Law in Victoria?

by Doogue + George Criminal Defence Lawyers

Infanticide is when a mother murders her child, because she has not recovered from giving birth or because of a disorder she developed as a result of the child birth.


Examples of Infanticide

  • After not being able to sleep for weeks on end and being mentally unwell, a mother overdoses her child with a sleeping liquid.
  • A woman gave birth and developed post-natal depression. When her child was 3 months old, she smothered her child in its sleep.


What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Infanticide?

  • You were not responsible for the death of your child.
  • You suffer from mental impairment beyond a disorder from the child birth.


There are other possible defences depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.


Questions in cases like this       

  • Do you know how your child died?
  • Do you suffer from a clinically diagnosed mental impairment?


Maximum penalty and court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 6 imprisonment (5 years). This type of offence would be heard in the County Court.


What is the legal definition of Infanticide?

The prosecution must prove that you caused the death of your child in circumstances that would have amounted to murder. Your mind at the time of the offence must have been disturbed by a mental disorder.



The section that covers this offence is section 6 of the Crimes Act 1958.


What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

Infanticide is a very serious offence. However, often the courts will not imprison the accused because of tragic factual circumstances.


Do you need legal advice regarding the criminal charge of Infanticide in Victoria, Australia? Contact Doogue + George Defence Lawyers. We specialise in criminal defence and all of our criminal lawyers handle cases in any Victoria court. Talk to one of our accredited criminal law specialists.


You may also view this page where this article was originally published:


We welcome your feedback

Hi there! We want to make this site as good as it can for you, the user. Please tell us what you would like to do differently and we will do our best to accommodate!

Protected by FormShield

We've updated our Privacy Statement, before you continue. please read our new Privacy Statement and familiarise yourself with the terms.