Page 2, 10th August 1956

10th August 1956
Page 2
Page 2, 10th August 1956 — Psychology and Youth Delinquency

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People: Baker, Kate Rorke


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Psychology and Youth Delinquency

SIR,-Does Mr. Baker, experienced teacher though he is, consider that he is in a very strong position when discussing Juvenile Delinquency since, as he tells us, he has never encountered

We have the serious responsibility of assessing the causative factors and of advising the magistrates as to suitable disposal such as probation, approved school, child guidance and so on. Our skill in this work is the result of years of training (in the case of psychologists at least three years' teaching experience is required) and of the day-by-day experience of ourselves and our colleagues. This body of knowledge we are constantly evaluating and expanding in our conferences, refresher courses, and written follow-ups of cases. In my own clinic, for example, a research conducted over some years proved that where the courts follow psychiatric advice the likelihood of the delinquent reforming is very much greater than when such advice is not followed So much for the treatment. As to the causative factors: if Mr. Baker were to study the serious literature he would discover that the consensus of opinion and the weight of research all go to show that the lack of affection is the most potent factor in delinquency.

Five years ago the Committee on Maladjusted Children was set up by the Ministry of Education and its report has just been published. I quote according to paragraphs:

" The children in this group (behaviour disorders) come from homes where the child it unable to count on loyalty and affection within his own family." (107).

" There is much evidence that failure in personal relationships is the most important factor in maladjustment." (119).

Note that lack of firmness and soft discipline, however much we deplore them, are not considered to be at the root of behaviour disorders. Nor are magistrates and psychological personnel (as Mr. Baker suggests) considered to he responsible for the rise in juvenile crime, since we read: Visits of magistrates to clinics, and of members of clinic teams to juvenile courts have been suggested and would be of value." (359).

So that the Ministry of Education which in its wisdom approves of the appointment of Mr. Baker and his colleagues to teach the normal run of healthy, happy children, has, after five years of research decided that such people as psychiatrists and psychologists have proved themselves in their work for less fortunate children, has agreed that security and affection are the children's greatest need and has planned for a great expansion of this work.

Regarding corporal punishment for normal children: boys are in the habit of indulging in aggressive play such as mock fights, boxing and wrestling, and in this context physical punishment may be cheerfully accepted, though it is certain that its amount is in inverse proportion to the good tone of a school or family. But, regarding girls, especially adolescents, it is surely as uncivilised to subject them to corporal punishment as to expect them to indulge in the boxing and wrestling that delight their brothers.

(Miss) Kate Rorke, Educational Psychologist.

Bridge House, Aylesford.

Our Lord and Divorce

Sir, The substitution of the words "woman" and "concubinage" etc., for "wife" and "adultery" does not seem to me to make the text much clearer.

Surely Our Lord meant that divorce is wrong not only in itself but because ot the responsibility one must have for the offending spouse; especially if the offence is not of a sexual nature. ("For every cause").

His words seem to me to 'mean that the one who divorces his partner not only offends against Charity and Faithfulness, hut also (except where the partner has already gone to live with another) drives the divorcee into committing adultery, because, as he adds, remarriage even of the innocent party, means adultery in the case of both partners in thc new set-up.

4 Beatrice Court, Wembley Parte C. M. Cheke

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