This dissertation explores the link between absent fatherhood and the effects that this may have on the criminality of children. This topic has been selected due to the scale of interest and concern being afforded to it compared to the disproportionate amount of conclusive research actually conducted into the area. The paper will take the form of a library based investigation; this is due to the complexity involved in gathering participants with a criminal background whose criminality can be attributed to the absence of their fathers; it is often very difficult and time consuming to negotiate access to such individuals and is thus unrealistic within such a limited time frame and without any funding to conduct a research based project. These limitations and further methodological reasons concerning this dissertation will be discussed in-depth in the methodology section. Although the paper is not based on primary research this is not an indication that new conclusions and the solutions to previously unanswered questions cannot be attained, outstanding issues shall be addressed within the paper and recommendations shall be made as to how to proceed in order to further investigate this topic.
Absent fatherhood is an issue which is often brought to the attention of the public particularly by politicians and religious leaders; this is largely due to the moral panic surrounding youth crime that exists within the UK. Youths have become stigmatised and criminalised, particularly within the media, and have now come to be viewed as what Jock Young would refer to as “folk devils”. Recent panics concerning gun and knife crime have also tended to focus on groups of criminal youths and have increased the public’s fear of this supposed subculture of adolescents. However, throughout this debate little time is afforded to discussing the reasons why these youths may turn to crime and