The Prime Minister Tony Abbott, along with many others, has made a personal plea to end the epidemic of drunken street violence across Australia.

But do these statements tackle the real cause? This is what he said,

“As a father and as a citizen, I’m appalled by the violent binge drinking culture that now seems so prevalent, especially at ‘hot spots’ in our big cities.

I’m sick of the fact that alcohol-fuelled violence has turned places that should be entertainment precincts into ‘no-go zones’.

Hospital emergency departments should not be overflowing with the victims of substance abuse every Friday and Saturday night. The media should not be full of stories about the latest casualties from our own streets…

We are seeing these king-hits, or coward punches as they are now being called. They are random acts of unprovoked, gratuitous violence.”

Adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg says of the kids he counsels who have anger issues there is one very important element missing.

A lot of these kids are under-fathered with no good male role models.

“It may be politically incorrect to say, but I don’t care: Little boys need good men”,

Carr-Gregg says.

“There is no question if your only window to masculinity is dad beating up mum, it’s not rocket science to see you will be desensitised to violence and equate violence and anger with being a man.”

He says that violence has been glorified by television shows such as CSI, Bones, Underbelly, Criminal Minds and the like dressing up murder as entertainment.

“The average kid leaves primary school having seen 8000 murders, that can’t be good,”

he says.

Father Chris Riley agrees a lot of angry young men did not have a good father figure.

“One of the biggest indicators of boys being violent is the lack of a father,”

he says.

“The kids I work with are overwhelmed by a sense of hopelessness.

“They’ve given up and they see violence as a payback.

“One of the boys said to me the king-hit is a sport now.”

To get another perspective lets go across to the USA where instead of young men throwing punches, young men are pulling the trigger on their guns. Barbara Hollingsworth says, in an article titled Bill Cosby Was Right: ‘Very Strong’ Statistical Link Between Fatherlessness, Gun Homicides,  that growing up without a father has a far greater statistical correlation to gun violence than most sociological factors, including poverty and gun ownership, a statistical analysis of gun homicides in the U.S. shows.

Larry Elder points out in a Townhall article that Barack Obama, in Chicago, finally talked about the lack of fathers and the impact this has on crime rather than complain about the number of rounds in a magazine:

“For a lot of young boys and young men in particular, they don’t see an example of fathers or grandfathers, uncles, who are in a position to support families and be held up in respect. And so that means that this is not just a gun issue; it’s also an issue of the kinds of communities that we’re building. When a child opens fire on another child, there is a hole in that child’s heart that government can’t fill. Only community and parents and teachers and clergy can fill that hole.”

In a 2004 study in the USA called, “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration,” it shows that boys who are fatherless from birth are 3.061 times as likely to go to jail as peers from intact families, while boys who do not see their father depart until they are 10 to 14 years old are 2.396 times as likely to go to jail as peers from intact families.  Interestingly Dr Pat Fagan showed that states in the USA  with a lower percentage of single-parent families, on average, had lower rates of juvenile crime. State-by-state analysis indicated that, in general, a 10-percent increase in the number of children living in single-parent homes (including divorces) accompanied a 17-percent increase in juvenile crime.

Fagan in his article The Real Root Causes of Violent Crime: The Breakdown of Marriage, Family, and Community,  demonstrated the correlation between marriage and fatherhood and what the absence of both does to our children.  Among married two-parent families, whether white or black, the crime rate was very low.  The capacity and determination to maintain stable married relationships, not race, was cited as the pivotal factor.  Chaotic, broken communities resulted from chaotic, broken families.

Heidi Hollands from South Africa in an article on Fatherlessness said;

“Some of the world’s nastiest dictators, torturers and assassins share a profoundly debilitating family feature: fatherlessness. Mugabe’s dad abandoned him as a 10-year-old.  Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson and Lee Harvey Oswald all grew up without fathers. So did Adolph Hitler. Most of the criminals in South Africa’s prison population lack positive male role models of any sort… A  Johannesburg-based criminologist, who blames absentee fathers for much of the violence in South Africa, says: “I have yet to meet the rapist with a functioning dad. A significant number of fatherless children, especially boys, look to gangs or follow other peer cultures that contradict traditional family values. For most kids in our society men still represent the definition of authority.”

Australian Family researcher Bill Muehlenberg in his article called Fatherlessness and Violence said,

“The London riots have simply reconfirmed and graphically illustrated what the social sciences have been telling us for a half century now: when we allow society to disregard the institution of marriage and in fact assault the institution of family, we are asking for – and will get – trouble.

The social science evidence on this is as overwhelming as it is clear: by every indicator, children will be worse off when not raised in a biological two-parent family. They will be more likely to do less well at school, to become involved in drugs, to commit suicide, to have a range of mental and psychological problems, and to get involved in gangs and criminal activity…

Even stronger connections between crime and family breakdown have been made by the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, which compared crime rates with out-of-wedlock birth rates from 1903 to 1993. It found that the “percentage of ex-nuptial births correlates significantly with both serious and violent crime at both one and two decades time lapse”…

Theodore Dalrymple is a retired prison doctor and psychiatrist. He has worked with people for decades and knows full well the connections between family breakdown and crime.

He says:

“British youth leads the Western world in almost all aspects of social pathology, from teenage pregnancy to drug taking, from drunkenness to violent criminality. There is no form of bad behaviour that our version of the welfare state has not sought out and subsidised.

“British children are much likelier to have a television in their bedroom than a father living at home. One-third of them never eat a meal at a table with another member of their household – family is not the word for the social arrangements of the people in the areas from which the rioters mainly come. They are therefore radically unsocialised and deeply egotistical …

“When we play fast and loose with fathers and marriage we simply invite the sort of barbarism witnessed in London to become mainstream. We had better wise up before it is too late.”

President Obama in a Father’s Day speech reported in the New York times said,

“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.

But if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that what too many fathers also are is missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it…

We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

It’s up to us – as fathers and parents – to instill this ethic of excellence in our children… It’s up to us to tell our sons, those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in my house we live glory to achievement, self respect, and hard work. It’s up to us to set these high expectations. And that means meeting those expectations ourselves. That means setting examples of excellence in our own lives”.


So what is the answer? We know that alcohol and media violence play a major part in the mayhem, but we as dads have a responsibility “to become the change we seek”.

Tim Hawkes’ brilliant but honest article in the Australian called What every dad must do if we’re to defeat violence gives us some of the keys as fathers.Tim Hawkes says,

“There are many other things that a father must teach a son… Some boys may not have a father. However, there is usually a father figure who can fulfil the tasks above. Indeed, they must if we are ever to break a cycle of violence and inadequacy from being handed from one generation to another”.

Yours for Dads Defeating Violence

Warwick Marsh

Published On: January 12th, 20141 Comment

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

One Comment

  1. Peter Ferguson January 15, 2014 at 1:36 am - Reply

    It is all well and good fro Tony Abbott to be outraged at alcohol related bad behaviour leading to shocking events. However in NSW it is the Liberal Government the is the biggest stumbling block and oponent to sensible changes to the late night supply of alcohol.

    No doubt there are deep seated family reasons this behaviour which need to be addressed.

    However Newcastle like restrictions to alcohol sales is a must as an interim step.

    Why do Barry O’Farrell and Liberal candidates so strongly oppose restrictions to late night alcohol sales? The answer is simle, the politican and financial support of the alcohol industry.


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