Punishing Parents?: Parenting Programmes and the Prevention of Offending Among Children and Young People

Janet Jamieson, University of Liverpool
Barry Goldson, University of Liverpool
Tanya Hector, University of Liverpool

A controversial new area of work introduced by the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act (England and Wales, UK) is that of Parenting Orders which aim to prevent offending, anti-social behaviour and non-attendance of school by children and young people. The Parenting Order combines two elements: the first -- a cumpulsory element -- requires parents to attend counselling or guidance sessions for up to a period three months and the second -- a discretionary element -- may require parents to exercise control over their child's behaviour for a period of up to 12 months. The hybrid nature of the Parenting Order combining compulsion with a supportive approach is viewed by many as problematic and thus practitioners have tried to persuade the courts to allow parents to access services on a voluntary basis. This paper will reflect on the ongoing evaluation of two Parenting Projects in Liverpool, Merseyside, UK. In particular it will contextualise the parenting services provided, present findings on the impact of the parenting programmes, including qualitative data on parents's and their children's experiences and views, and discuss the strengths and limiations of this provision wiyhin the youth justice context in the UK.

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Updated 05/20/2006