JOHANNESBURG – The act of killing one's child is unthinkable and yet it is happening.
Why would a mother, a protector and nurturer, kill her own children? Some research suggests in many -- if not most cases -- the women involved are suffering from mental illnesses.
But in the other cases social, emotional and biological factors have also been cited.
As the country observes Child Protection Week, the reality is that incidents of violence towards children keep increasing.
According to last year's crime statistics, 985 children were murdered.
A forensic psychiatrist at Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital says such an assessment looks at a number of aspects.
“Fitness is a current concept so what is the person's mental state at the moment can she go to court give an account to what happened and what's happening now,” said Professor Ugash Subramaney, HOD at Sterkfontein Hospital.
“In terms of responsibility we look at what was her mental state like on the day of the offence.”