21 October 2013 Breaking the vicious circle of a chaotic childhood The PCC’s ‘Passmore Priority’ for this month is: YOUNG PEOPLE Children who witness domestic violence and sexual abuse are more likely to do the same when they are older and this a vicious circle that Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore wants to break with the help of the Constabulary, social care and health professionals. Tim explains, “A meeting of the Churches Criminal Justice Forum earlier this month involved some fascinating discussions about the influence of good or bad parenting with very young children.” “It was a very interesting meeting which highlighted the desperate situation that some children find themselves in through no fault of their own and how a poor start in life can have a life-long impact as an adult. Summed up in the words of African-American social reformer, Frederick Douglass, it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Dr Peter Powell, Consultant Paediatrician at West Suffolk Hospital; Dr Richard Pratt, Clinical Psychologist at Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust and Dr Catherine Thomas, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychologist, Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust spoke to the meeting about the attachment theory and explained how children who witness domestic idleness and sexual abuse are more likely to replicate this behaviour when they are older leading to a continuation of the vicious circle. Tim said, “There is no easy solution, but it is evident that we all have a role to play. If, as I suggested at the meeting, we could have a societal change in the recognition of the importance of sound family structures and helping people into permanent employment ,we can start to break the cycle. My police and crime plan, the blue print for policing in Suffolk over the next four years, mirrors this ambition. Tim Passmore will take the issues discussed to the next Suffolk Public Leaders meeting to galvanise the support of public sector leaders across the county. He will also consider what funding opportunities there are to support this work. A smaller steering group from the Churches Criminal Justice Forum will meet in the next month to consider some effective initiatives to complement current work in this area.