Psychological Factors Contributing to Baby Dumping and Infanticide: Experiences of Incarcerated Women Who Had Dumped Babies and/or Committed Infanticide in Namibia

ABSTRACT

Background: It is difficult to estimate the true extent of infanticide and baby dumping in Namibia, since such cases may go unreported. However, police statistics and anecdotal information suggest that the problem is significant. While the act of abandoning a newborn baby seems heartless and cruel, baby dumping is the end result of various issues that are affecting young mothers who feel they have no alternative.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the experiences of incarcerated women who had dumped or committed infanticide in Namibia.

Methods: The study was qualitative, explorative, descriptive, and contextual in nature. Participants were purposively selected from women who had dumped babies and/or committed infanticide at Oluno Correctional Facility in the Oshana Region. In-depth unstructured individual interviews were used to collect data. Data were analyzed using Tech’s method of qualitative data analysis. Principle of trustworthiness and ethical principles were employed to ensure human rights were applied during the study.

Results: The findings of the study revealed one central theme which reflects that participants experienced psychological factors that contributed to baby dumping and committing infanticides including denial, rejection, fear, anger and evil thoughts as well as feeling of despairs and lack of support from either male partner, family or community.

Conclusion: It is evident from the findings of the study that psychological factors contribute to baby dumping and infanticide. Further, it was recommended that a psychological educational program should be developed to support incarcerated women. The government should carry out awareness campaigns that aim at deterring individuals against committing these acts. The community through family and churches should be strengthened to offer support and guidance to prevent these incidences as well as integrate those incarcerated back into society.