Melanie Phillips: Govt must recognise link between family breakdown and crime

Writer and broadcaster Melanie Phillips has spoken about the “devastating impact” fatherless families can have on young men.

She urged the Government to acknowledge “the role played by family upbringing in crime” and to develop appropriate policies.

Last year the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) called on policy makers to consider the role of the family when responding to Britain’s most serious social problems.


Phillips said that while there are many factors which contribute to crime, “studies have shown time and again that the children most prone to crime, along with many other disorders, are fatherless boys”.

“Deprived of the self-affirmation or affection they need from their absent father, such boys may turn to gangs to fill the gap.”

She added that the “devastating impact of family fragmentation has been ignored for decades” and that Ministers need to implement policies to keep families together.

’Broken lives’

A 2019 study by CSJ highlighted the link between marital breakdown and crime, homelessness and alcoholism.

Entitled ‘Why Family Matters’, the research shows that people who experienced family breakdown when aged 18 or younger were twice as likely to be in trouble with the police.

CSJ said: “The evidence is clear: family breakdown sits as the backdrop to so many broken lives, entrenching individuals in intergenerational cycles of poverty and instability.”

Also see:


Govt must do more to prevent family breakdown, think-tank says

Children suffer from family breakdown, studies show

No-fault divorce ‘a cheaters’ charter’, warns pro-marriage campaign