Threatening to kill the children and then commit suicide is a
classic tactic of men seeking "power and control" over their
partners, two experts say.
Waikato University psychologist Dr Neville Robertson and
retired law professor Ruth Busch, who wrote a study of women
with protection orders in 2007, said cases of parents
carrying out such threats were rare.
"You can think of any number of guys who have killed their
partners. Less often have they killed their children as
well," Dr Robertson said.
"The one thing that stands out is the incredible
possessiveness that seems to be evident in such cases: 'I
can't have her, nobody else will'."
Dr Busch said about 60 per cent of men who killed their
partner or their children took their own lives.
"They always kill themselves, that's the New Zealand way,"
"It's really a tactic of power and control to threaten
A 1994 case in which Alan Bristol killed his three daughters
and then himself led to a law change in 2005 requiring judges
to assess the risk of violence before allowing access to
children by any father against who family violence was
The law was repealed last year because it was seen as not
distinguishing between levels of violence, and was replaced
by a stronger requirement for judges to put a child's welfare
- Simon Collins, NZ Herald