This is a continuation of the Summary of the 1995 Report of the Gulbenkian
Foundation Commission on Children and Violence
Recommendations 3: Support and services for children and families
Inequality, discrimination and lack of appropriate support and services for
children and families all increase the potential for violence. The
Commission therefore adds the perspective of violence prevention to the
case for the following reforms:
3 a) Challenging inequality and poverty
The Commission recommends urgent and concerted action to challenge the
extent and growth of child poverty in the UK. Economic and taxation levels
should seek to reduce inequality and ensure that the basic benefit levels
for those dependent on benefit match the actual costs of children.
3 b) Family support
The Government should review arrangements for supporting working parents in
order to establish rights to:
# paid paternal leave for either parent following maternity leave;
# paid paternity leave and job re-instatement following birth or
# paid family leave for illness and other emergencies;
# grants or loans for new parents for appropriate equipment to prevent
Local authorities should be encouraged to develop integrated support
services for families, and a comprehensive information and advice service
on community resources.
i) Early years care and education: The daycare review duty placed on
local authorities should ensure that all authorities develop costed action
plans for the provision of good quality daycare for all who seek it. The
Commission adds the violence prevention perspective to the case for rapidly
expanding pre-school education.
ii) Schools and education service: Education services and schools
should adopt the commitment to non-violence and adapt and apply the
checklists; non-violence should be recognised as a priority within the
iii) Children's opportunities for play and leisure: There should be
central and local co-ordination of policy on play leisure opportunities for
children, and adequate funding to take account of the special needs of
children and and the proportion of the overall population which they form.
iv) Health services: The Department of Health should recognise that
violence is a serious public health problem, and mount a new programme of
prevention, based on research. The crucial surveillance and education role
of health visitors should be protected and made available throughout the
UK. Similarly, the school nursing service should be expanded appropriately
to cover all schools.
v) Mental health services: Within a comprehensive mental health
service, primary care professionals should receive consultation, training
and support in the identification and first line management of children
with violent behavioural problems. If children have not responded to
primary care management, facilities at the secondary level for assessment
and treatment should be available within six weeks for all children showing
significant violent behaviour, especially those with conduct disorders.
Parents and teachers should have the opportunity to consult secondary care
professional staff, even if the children themselves do not wish to be seen.
Mental health services should develop collaborative work with other
organisations in the community to provide a comprehensive community-based
vi) Victims of violence: All child victims of violence should be
offered appropriate assessment to determine what measures are needed to
promote recovery and social integration. Sufficient resources must be
available for necessary rehabilitation. Compensation should be available to
child victims of violence, taking full account of physical and
psychological harm. Awards of compensation should not be dependent on
prosecution of perpetrators.
vii) 'Domestic' or family violence: All organisations concerned with
violence within close relationships should consider the safety and welfare
of children at all times, including episodes in which violence occurs only
Recommendations 4: Other Issues
i) Alcohol and substance abuse: Prices of alcohol should be increased
through higher taxation to provide a real disincentive for children. Those
involved in alcohol production, distribution, marketing and sales should be
encouraged to adopt the commitment to non-violence and to develop clear
guidelines and voluntary controls to prevent alcohol abuse by children, as
well as ensuring that legislative controls are rigorously enforced.
ii) Child death enquiries: As a matter of urgency, the government
should set up a UK-wide review of law, policy and practice relating to
child deaths (birth to 14).
iii) Suicide and self-harm: The Government's Health Target relating to
suicide should be amended to include a particular focus on reducing suicide
and attempted suicide among young people.
iv) Children and the violent conflict in Northern Ireland: On the basis
of expert advice, the Government should develop a comprehensive strategy
and make available appropriate resources to enable individuals and
communities within Northern Ireland to address the effects of violent
conflicts on children.
v) Violent images and violence involving children: All media
accessible to children should seek to realise the huge potential of the
media for promoting pro-social behaviour and non-violent conflict
resolution and discouraging inter-personal violence.
On television, the evening watershed should be rigorously observed on all
channels and clearly explained to viewers in all programme guides. A code
should be developed for the coverage of violent events by news and
documentary programmes. Similarly, there should be explicit guidance to
counter any encouragement of violence in sport coverage.
All relevant bodies should ensure accurate information is available on
programmes, and on videos and other materials and their packaging, which
indicate clearly the content, and enable children, parents and other carers
to exercise informed control over viewing/listening.
All teachers and schools should seek increased critical understanding by
pupils of the new communications technologies: the importance of this
should be reflected in arrangements for the curriculum throughout the UK.
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