• Too little, too late? parenting orders as a form of crime prevention

      Vlugter, Roberta (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2009-10)
      The development of Youth Justice in the UK since the early 1990s has been informed by the belief that the family plays a key role in youth offending. In 1998 the parenting order was introduced, based on the assumption that interventions to improve parenting will have a positive effect upon offending. The availability of the order was extended in 2005, reflecting the view that parents who do not undertake parenting support are being wilfully negligent of their responsibilities and must be made to take the help offered. In this thesis the assumptions justifying the parenting order and its extensions are questioned. Evidence suggests that although parenting is influential, it is one of many factors associated with the onset of or desistence from offending. Furthermore, as this thesis highlights, parents likely to receive parenting orders are often experiencing several personal and environmental 'stressors', creating high levels of need. These situational pressures and high level of need, this thesis argues, are likely to make it difficult for them to be effective in their role, or to gain long term benefit from attending a parenting programme. Furthermore, many parents have histories of unsuccessfully seeking assistance from 'helping agencies', refuting the assumption of wilful neglect. This thesis considers the advantages and limitations of parenting work as a form of crime prevention and specifically looks at the use of the parenting order. An argument is presented for a wider, more holistic approach to parenting work than that offered by the parenting order as a form of crime prevention and for providing assistance to families earlier.