Thursday, May 16, 2013

A quarter of young girls with absent fathers 'grow into depressed teenagers' but boys cope better with parental separation

Girls need fathers too

Almost a quarter of girls whose fathers were absent during early childhood suffer depression as teenagers, a report says.

Some 23 per cent will show symptoms such as sadness or severe tiredness later in life if their parent leaves before they turn five, researchers found.

It makes them almost 50 per cent more likely to have future mental health problems than older girls, confirming previous studies that suggest pre-schoolers cope badly with break-ups because they are less likely to have a support network of friends and other family members.

Those ‘coping mechanisms’ meant just 15 per cent of over-fives reported signs of mental distress later on – the same as those whose parents stayed together.

Boys coped best of all with early parental separation, with less than ten per cent in the youngest age range going on to suffer teenage depression, psychologists found.

However, that figure jumped to 17 per cent for the five to ten age group – ten per cent higher than boys whose parents stayed together.

Lead author Iryna Culpin, from the University of Bristol, said: ‘The measure that we used was a non-clinical diagnosis of depression.

‘In reality the largest group of children whose fathers were absent between nought to five years, the girls, were the ones who answered the most questions with “yes”.

‘Girls whose fathers were absent in middle childhood, or boys in general, were less likely.

‘We saw that girls who experienced divorce and a father’s absence in the first five years were more likely to develop advanced mental health, or health, issues, later in life.’

About a third of British children experience separations or divorce before the age of 16.

In order to examine the impact of the timing of a split on children, researchers asked 5,631 teenagers whether they had experienced symptoms such as sadness, unworthiness or extreme lethargy in the past two weeks.

The participants were from the Children Of The 90s project – a group of almost 20,000 youngsters born in 1991 and 1992 who scientists are studying to help discover the causes of leading health and social problems. Using the background data, the research team were able to track their family circumstances and pinpoint the effect of a father’s departure on their mental health.

‘We cannot place judgment or blame on anyone but we are suggesting these girls might be more at risk later on in life,’ said Miss Culpin.

‘This study is dependent on a host of other factors, such as social and economic factors developing independently as well.

‘We cannot accord for all the experiences children go through, but from our studies girls are more at risk if their fathers leave early on in their childhood.’

The research, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, also suggests young girls are ‘more vulnerable to negative personal events’ than boys. However, they are not necessarily more likely to suffer from depression throughout their life, Miss Culpin added.


Routine coverup of crime by British police

Police officers are afraid to speak out about the dubious practices being used to conceal true crime rates, a senior police leader has claimed.

Steve Williams, chairman of the Police Federation, said officers were under huge pressure to keep crime statistics down.

In some cases, mobile phone thefts were being recorded as lost property, while a spate of burglaries might be registered as a single offence.

But whistleblowers who might have exposed such practices in the past were now afraid to do so in the wake of the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards.

The inquiry also looked into allegations of inappropriate links between a handful of senior police officers and a small number of journalists and, as a result, some chief constables had now effectively imposed gagging orders on their staff, said Mr Williams.

‘The latest crime figures showed a 5 per cent fall in crime but, based on the anecdotes I’m getting, I am not sure that is the case,’ he said. ‘Pressure is being brought to bear on frontline officers on the way they are recording crime.

Frontline police representatives suspect many victims do not bother to report crimes because their local police station is closed. Others no longer insure household goods and therefore do not report losses.

‘Cops are very reluctant to speak to the media and say how it really is. Some chief officers have imposed almost a gagging order on their staff. I do not think the true story is getting out because of the “fear factor” in the wake of Leveson about the effect going public would have on officers’ careers.’

Last night the police watchdog launched a review of how forces record crimes. Tom Winsor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said it would examine claims that officers downgraded crimes to appear less serious than the offences which actually took place.

The latest crime figures published last month show the number of offences recorded by police last year fell by 8 per cent to 3.7million. The independent Crime Survey for England and Wales said the estimated level of crime fell by 5 per cent to 8.9million offences against adults, based on a survey of more than 40,000 households.

Over five years, police recorded 400,000 fewer offences than reported in the Crime Survey. Mr Williams, a detective inspector in North Wales who represents 130,000 officers in England and Wales, said: ‘There is a lack of understanding in the wake of Leveson about what police officers can and cannot do.

‘Officers feel that speaking to journalists will lead to them being labelled troublemakers and that it could lead to them losing their jobs, facing discipline or affecting promotion prospects.’

Officers at the Police Federation’s annual conference in Bournemouth yesterday confirmed manipulation of crime statistics is common.

One said that a town in the North East did not officially have a single mobile phone theft in a month, instead recording every single missing device as ‘lost’.

Another said teams of officials are employed to determine if offences could be re-categorised so that they can be recorded as less controversial offences or even no crime at all.  An attempted burglary might be registered as criminal damage.

Such changes improve the appearance of a force’s crime figures because they lower the numbers of high-profile crimes.

Announcing his review yesterday, Mr Winsor told the Home Affairs Select Committee: ‘Information is the oxygen of accountability and the information must be sound.’

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary will also look at allegations that some officers encourage prisoners to confess to crimes they had not committed in order to boost clear-up rates.

Earlier this year, the Office for National Statistics said officers were under ‘informal pressure’ to meet targets and could have downgraded some crimes.

Labour called for an inquiry into whether fewer crimes were being recorded as a result of cuts.

Police officers also suspect victims are finding it harder to report crimes because police stations are closing and fewer officers are on the beat.

Police chiefs say a reason behind the fall was the ‘over-zealous’ reaction of officers when new standards were brought in ten years ago.

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Crime is falling and police reform is working – recorded crime is down by more than 10  per cent under this Government.

‘At the same time, the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales shows crime is at its lowest level since records began.’


Boris is right: the world does not owe Britain a living

Much of the fault, to paraphrase Shakespeare, lies not in the EU’s yellow stars, but in ourselves

Boris Johnson, writing for The Daily Telegraph, made the point that not all of Britain's problems can be laid at Europe’s door

Over the past few days, a great deal of politicians’ time – and the media’s attention – has been devoted to the subject of Europe. This is only natural: the issue of our future relationship with the European Union, and the benefits and drawbacks of continued membership, is of utmost importance both to many within Britain, and to the future of our economy.

Yet it fell to Boris Johnson, writing on these pages yesterday, to make one significant point: that not all of our problems can be laid at Europe’s door. The supporters of withdrawal certainly have a case when they castigate the EU for its bureaucratic, protectionist impulses. Yet other members – notably Germany – manage to find markets for their products, and drive on the productivity of their workforce, while still being subject to the same rules and regulations. Much of the fault, to paraphrase Shakespeare, lies not in the EU’s yellow stars, but in ourselves: what the Mayor of London decried as our “short-termism, inadequate management, sloth, low skills, a culture of easy gratification and under-investment in both human and physical capital and infrastructure”.

The lazy criticism of such comments is that they do down Britain. But that is to misunderstand the situation. Put simply, there are two components to the British disease, in its 21st-century form. The first is the structural weaknesses in our economy: the fact that while our workers spend long hours at their desks, they produce less while doing so than their American, German or even French counterparts; that we are still unable to make enough things that others want to buy, hence the fact that our current account deficit recently reached its highest level since 1989; that the state spends far too much and taxes too much, and uses that money more to promote dependency than to build the infrastructure on which future growth depends, such as new airports and high-speed rail networks.

The second part of the problem has to do with culture and mindset: put simply, the sense that the world owes us a living. And it is on this score that the Coalition is having more success. With its talk of a “global race”, reforms to education, raising of the pension age and capping of benefits, it is starting to make the case that our rivals are not just in Europe, but around the world – that the quality of our companies, and our curriculum, and our workers, must be measured not just against those of France or Germany, but China, Singapore, Brazil and everywhere else, and that we must be leaner and keener in order to compete. The good news is that, while this is not always a comfortable message, it is one in which voters increasingly see the sense.


UN declares that nations must punish speakers for racism, to comply with treaty

Menacing free speech, the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has ruled that Germany violated international law by not prosecuting a former German legislator for statements he made in an interview with a cultural journal. The statements included comments critical of immigration and the alleged dependence on welfare of Turkish immigrants to Germany.

This disturbing ruling illustrates that international norms are at odds with American civil-liberties such as freedom of speech, making it inappropriate for U.S. courts to enforce them in lawsuits under the Alien Tort Statute, as left-wing American legal scholars have urged the courts to do.

German prosecutors had concluded that the former legislator’s remarks were protected by Germany’s (limited) free-speech guarantees because, while offensive, they were part of a “discussion” of “problems of economic and social nature,” and did not rise to the level of hate speech. (Germany generally bans hate speech; by contrast in the U.S., the Supreme Court voided a hate-speech ordinance in 1992 on First Amendment grounds. A federal appeals court has also ruled that a professor’s racially-charged anti-immigration diatribes were protected speech in the Rodriguez case.)

Law professor Eugene Volokh reprints the speech that, “according to the Committee, must lead to a criminal prosecution in countries that have ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.” (The U.S. has ratified that convention, but, as Professor Volokh notes, “I am pleased to say that the U.S. has not recognized the competence of the Committee to enforce the Convention, though most European countries have; the U.S. has also ratified subject to a specific reservation in favor of the freedom of speech.”)

Giving UN officials a veto over people's speech is a bad idea, especially given their weird, unrepresentative ideology, which often displays hostility to America. Their strange ideology is illustrated by the disturbing remarks blaming America for the Boston terrorist bombing by “Richard A. Falk, the U.N. ‘human rights’ official and Princeton professor. . . .Commenting on the Boston bombing, Falk wrote, “Should we not all be meditating on W.H. Auden’s haunting line: ‘Those to whom evil is done/do evil in return’?” “The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world. In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks, and these may yet happen, especially if there is no disposition to rethink US relations to others in the world.”

Earlier, I wrote about how it was a good thing that the Supreme Court blocked foreigners from suing in the U.S. over putative violations of “customary international law” by corporations and other defendants with deep pockets. Letting people sue over violations of “customary international law” would be like giving a blank check to lawyers with favored ideologies. International-law “experts” often define international obligations in ways that go far beyond what countries that ratified a treaty ever intended or contemplated, but which are appealing to “progressive” ideologies. Earlier, the UN “special rapporteur on torture,” Argentina’s Juan E. Méndez, sought to define as torture, in violation of international human-rights law, a wide variety of government policies, such as “restrictions on access to abortion” and “laws requiring sex change surgery before legal sex reassignment, laws that permit a parent to lose custody of a child solely because they use drugs, and mandatory HIV testing for ‘sex workers.’”

Letting people sue over violations of “international law” can be bad for civil liberties like free speech, equal protection, and private-property rights. Left-wing lawyers take vague international treaties and interpret them as mandating their ideological wish lists, such as restricting criticism of Islam and minority religions as “hate speech,” banning Mother’s Day as sexist, and mandating quota-based affirmative action. For example, the CEDAW equal-rights treaty has been construed by an international committee as requiring “redistribution of wealth,” “affirmative action,” “gender studies” classes, government-sponsored “access to rapid and easy abortion,” and “the application of quotas and numerical goals.” (Governmental racial quotas violate the U.S. Constitution, as do quotas imposed on private enterprises by the government. Government-enforced gender quotas also generally violate the Constitution.).



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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