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NCJ Number: 210534 Find in a Library
Title: Punishing Parents for the Crimes of Their Children
Journal: Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:44  Issue:3  Dated:July 2005  Pages:233-253
Author(s): Raymond Arthur
Date Published: July 2005
Page Count: 21
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the efficacy of parental responsibility laws that punish parents for the crimes of their children.
Abstract: In the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 (United Kingdom), families and family life were identified as both a cause and a solution to youth offending. In the white paper that preceded the bill, families and parents of juvenile delinquents were accused of “failing to meet their responsibilities to their communities.” Thus was born a profusion of parental responsibility laws that are based on the assumption that parents of juvenile delinquents are simply not parenting responsibly and can be forced to do so through legislation and the imposition of financial penalties. The author examines the effectiveness of such laws and argues that juvenile offending can best be reduced through policies that strengthen the family and improve parenting skills. The history of parental responsibility laws in England and Wales is reviewed, as are two main legal precedents on the duty to support families: Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Children Act 1989, which identifies a governmental role in helping families meet their parental responsibilities. In closing, the author argues that parental responsibility laws oversimplify the complex relationship between parenting and delinquency and a more progressive approach would work toward helping families meet the needs of their children as set out in the Children Act 1989. Notes, references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Policy analysis
Index Term(s): England; Parental influence; Wales
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