Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Discipline

Juvenile Justice


Gender-related homicides of young women and minor girls have reached alarming proportions in India. The 2020 crime statistics reported 1,582 homicides of children, with 119 (7.5%) minor victims raped and murdered. However, no empirical studies address the motives nor offer incident-based details of the murders and rape/gang-rape of minors. The current study used systematic content analysis of news media sources published in India. The search included five primary print media—The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Hindu, The Indian Express, and The New Indian Express, published in English and reported from 2017 to 2018. The search also included digital news sources from newswire, web based, and other online news sources. Specifically, the study (1) compared official statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) with the systematic search results on murder with rape/gang-rape incidents to identify trends and state and regional variations, (2) analyzed the bias-motivating factors such as social, political, religious, and caste-based discrimination, (3) assessed the trend between non-bias motivating factors such as revenge/anger, sexual sadism, or opportunity with bias factors, (4) reviewed the criminal/juvenile justice systems’ response, and (5) assessed public reaction to these incidents.

The results showed discrepancies and variations in reported incidents between NCRB and the systematic search data. In addition, social bias was noted as the most common bias factor, followed by political, religious, and caste biases. Among the non-bias motivating factors, opportunity was the most common factor, followed by revenge/anger and sexual sadism. Along with motivating factors, the criminal justice agencies failed to act. Instead, they blamed the victim, destroyed the evidence, or supported the accused. The public reactions also varied widely from public anger, protests, and rallies in support of the victims, mob violence against the perpetrators, or supporting the perpetrator to victim-blaming. The research provides a broader understanding of motivations for committing child rapes and murders in India. Additionally, this research might assist in discussing patriarchal views, educating youth on social justice advocacy, and organizing community initiatives to protect the victims. Finally, the outcomes would guide Indian juvenile and criminal justice reforms.

Keywords: motivating factor, murder, rape/gang-rape, girls, India, content analysis

Committee Chair/Advisor

Sesha Kethineni

Committee Co-Chair:

Nabil Ouassini

Committee Member

Kristan N. Russell

Committee Member

Farrah G Cambrice


Prairie View A&M University


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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