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

adoption;

# paid family leave for illness and other emergencies;

# grants or loans for new parents for appropriate equipment to prevent

home accidents

 

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

curriculum.

 

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

treatment service.

 

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

between adults.

 

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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