Letter: The best way to handle a wife-beater

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The Independent Online
Sir: The selection of Paul Gascoigne for the England team and the controversy it has aroused crystallises some of the most pressing questions facing our society ("England's women expect a wife-beater to stay in decent obscurity", 2 November).

Glenn Hoddle's decision to give Gazza another chance - a chance to establish a good character in conjunction with his accepting counselling to help him overcome his problems - is a most refreshing and much needed injection of compassion and understanding into public life. And it is still one that refuses to condone the player's violent behaviour off the field.

Hoddle has made a point of saying that he hopes his inclusion of Gazza will help the man overcome his problems. As such, his attitude contrasts sharply with the many who can see no further than making outraged condemnations.

Some of Glen Hoddle's critics have warned of the danger of Gazza's becoming a role model and thus reinforcing the behaviour of men who beat women. Perhaps, though, he might become a role model for those whose behaviour is unacceptable but who recognise that they have a problem and seek help.

Hoddle's emphasis on inclusion also makes a telling juxtaposition with the word "exclusion", which we have heard used so frequently in relation to unruly pupils. While their behaviour is absolutely unacceptable, simply excluding these children from school will not bring them the understanding and expert help they undoubtedly need.