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Break the cycle of violence

7 March 2006

Break the cycle of violence and criminal behaviour key to reducing prison numbers

There needs to be more focus on the barrier at the top of the cliff rather than the ambulance at the bottom.

That today from the chair of one of New Zealand's leading social support agencies working with at risk children in high risk families.

Sally Thompson says effective, independently evaluated programmes which see families working to break the cycle of generational dysfunction are absolutely key to turning the prison population tide.

"Every week we hear of yet another case where someone with a background riddled with family violence and dysfunction is off to jail," she says.

"And those are just the high profile cases."

Sally Thompson says increasingly international and national research shows that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree when it comes to much of our prison population.

"Look at the Mikus case - father and son. That's just one but there are dozens of examples."

Background:

The Family Help Trust works with some of our most at risk children and their families. The FHT social work team work closely with families when children are as young as possible, in some cases (and preferably) before a child is born.

The delivery of their service is based on getting in as early as possible and working with a family in their own home for up to five years, until a child starts school.

There are currently twelve families on the Trust's waiting list with more than 600 having been successfully supported and helped over the last 5 years.

ENDS

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