LETTER: Unearthing the roots of society's violence

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The Independent Online
From Mr John Warren

Sir: I note in your report on the Commission on Children and Violence (9 November) that it recommends a national strategy to tackle violence by and against children. I wonder if they have considered male circumcision as a form of violence against children, which may injure not only a male's genitals but perhaps also, in certain circumstances, his psyche.

Psychologists are increasingly aware that abuse of children may induce them to become abusers when they are adult. The report comments on the high levels of interpersonal violence in America. It may not be unrelated that 80-90 per cent of males in the US have undergone routine neonatal circumcision, usually without anaesthesia.

In Britain, too, routine circumcision has been practised much more frequently than it is among our European neighbours. It has declined here in the past 40 years, but nevertheless 30,000 circumcisions are performed in the UK every year on boys under 15. A great many of these operations are totally unnecessary. Those involved in health care of children should have a strategy to eliminate this form of violence.

Yours faithfully,

John Warren



9 November