Letter: Cures for crime: a return to family values, creative play, moral lessons, caring at home

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The Independent Online
Sir: John Major's plea for less understanding of criminal actions is gravely mistaken.

Criminal behaviour must be understood if it is to be prevented. Such understanding as we already possess indicates that the roots of criminal violence lie in child abuse (whether physical, sexual or emotional): this is the problem that needs tackling.

More services are needed to help and support the parents of infants and young children in order to break the cycle of abused children becoming abusing parents. Investment in crime prevention must begin in the cradle. Condemnation of violence cannot prevent it.

Yours faithfully,

JULIET HOPKINS

Consultant Child Psychotherapist

The Tavistock Clinic

London, NW3

21 February

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