‘Fatherlessness’ and the August riots: our response

26 August 2011

Recent scenes of unrest on the streets of English cities have generated concern and a great deal of debate about the behaviour of some of the teenagers and young adults who took part. We know that the root causes of this behaviour are complex and interlinked, and that time and resources may need to be invested in understanding and resolving them. The Prime Minister suggested that ‘fatherlessness’ may be to blame for some of what took place.

 What have fathers got to do with it?

Our existing research shows that positively involved fathers can play a huge role in bringing up children and young people who are more likely to leave school with qualifications and employment prospects – and less likely to get into trouble with the law. Support for fathers to become and stay involved, in positive ways, in their children’s lives – whether they live with them full-time or not – is vital for the development of future generations of young people who have hope for the future, good levels of self esteem and the abilities and skills to take the opportunities that are available.

What is the Fatherhood Institute doing?

We continue to lobby for a society that gives all children a strong and positive relationship with their father and any father-figures from the earliest days and hours of their lives; supports both mothers and fathers as earners and carers; and prepares boys and girls for a future shared role in caring for children.

Specifically in the light of recent events, we are seeking funds to research the links between fatherhood and the August riots in three respects:

  • To explore the family background of people who have been convicted of offences during the riots
  • To look at how the law deals with the parents of those rioters who are under 18 – for example, are fathers (including non-resident fathers) being held to account for their children’s behaviour as well as mothers?
  • To think about what projects in the UK and elsewhere have had success in bringing fathers back into the lives of their children, and working with them to optimise their involvement. How well or badly are fathers being addressed in family support programmes?

What do you think?

Post a comment below to tell everyone how fathers in your area responded to the riots – or more generally how they respond to antisocial behaviour or the involvement of local children in, for instance, drugs misuse. Or why not head over to Dads Included and start or contribute to a forum discussion there?

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  • Kip Miller says:

    VIDEO – The 2011 UK Riots and the ‘Blame Game’ – ‘Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind’


  • Robin says:

    The answer to the ‘fatherlessness’ issue as the crux of the matter in the riots is to look at why fathers have been excluded from families.

    Who, which group, movement was behind this exclusion. It is the actions of these persons, over time, that has led to this outcome.

    This situation is well understood by any reasonable thinking man who has been through divorce, and parental alientation, in Western society.

    There is no utopia at the end of feminism, especially the recent radical feminism; this war on men – just pain and chaos for all, women included.

    • andrew says:

      Yes I agree entirely. The saddest recent event being Norgrove’s family review. He not only discriminates against Father’s in the family but is now telling Grandparents they are interfering. Doesn’t he realise Grandparents “interfer” because they care. They too want a relationship with their grandchildren. Can anyone morally, ethically, tell me why this shouldn’t be so. If the law has any roll at all it is to uphold EQUALITY within the family.

  • Shabana says:

    The Fatherhood Institute appears to be a beneficial organisation; anything that will support our youth to enhance their lives to attain holistic prosperity is wonderful and to be encouraged.

    Regarding the riots, it’s too simplistic to suggest fatherlessness is the cause of the recent unrest as we saw some of the offenders were not young adults, some were females, and some from middle class backgrounds with good prospects.There are myriad reasons which culminated in the outrageous acts and many fingers can be pointed in different directions. However, an overwhelming reason is undeniably the moral decay in our society, the cause of which beibg lack of God consciousness.

    The Prime Minister needs to seriously consider including experts such as Dr Rowan Williams in consultations in these issues together with other experts.

    • Fatherhood Institute says:

      Thanks for your view, Shabana. As explained in our piece, we think it’s important to establish the facts about what happened before we jump to too many conclusions. We hope to play our part in doing that, so watch this space!

  • Edward says:

    Fatherless children is not always by choice, there are many father who desperatly want to be in their childrens lives, but for too many this is not possible. Being careful to use a wide generalization, there are many fathers that are forced out of their childrens lives do to bitterness and a broken view of having children. Children are a blessing to both a mother and a father, as a society, we have been focused to much on selfishness, having children for the wrong reasons, subsequently, many fathers are pushed out of the lives of their children by some very sad mothers; not all mothers; but enough to be an issue. A cycle begins where by children are rasied in unstable homes growing up to repeat problems, have low esteem issues and become parents themselves far too young. We as a society are now in the aftermath of years and years of this mentality. Pressure groups often put an emphasis on equality; however it is the children that loose out. Now in the aftermath of the riots, we see a serious result. It is a shame, when boys and girls from this broken society have grown in a cycle of neglect and desertion; only to do the exact same, reproduce. No one says it like it is in fear of offending; however doing nothing shows the outcome; the riots.

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