CATEGORY: GOVERNMENT PROJECTS: CITY/COUNTY
Eunice Lumsden, Professor of Child Advocacy, University of Northampton. Consultant on project.
Source: Alex Pope, BBC News
Read time: 1.5 minutes
A United Kingdom national government fund has awarded £195,111 (US $248,378) to a Northampton charity to treat trauma in children in order to prevent them from going into care or committing crimes. The project will run through April 2025.
Who is Doing This?
The National Lottery Community Fund is a government fund that raises money from lottery players. It is the largest community funder in the UK.
The recipient, Crysalys Foundation, will partner with the University of Northampton, including Professor Eunice Lumsden, and several other local programs.
The project seems based on the theory that trauma experiences can cause individuals to commit criminal acts. Under the postmodern trauma-informed model in which trauma can cause every type of dysfunction and disadvantage in life, treating trauma should therefore prevent crime.
There are no good data, however, to support that theory. Many studies have shown associations between trauma and criminal behavior but they are of weak quality, being cross-sectional in nature. Cross-sectional data could also support the more likely theory that genetic reasons account for some children to both more frequently commit criminal acts and experience trauma. Criminal behavior does not happen at random. Parents who commit crimes do so for largely genetic reasons (i.e., sociopathic traits, lack of empathy), and they pass their genes on to children who are then more likely to commit crimes. These parents are also more likely to raise children in settings where trauma exposures are more likely. Crime and trauma exposure co-occur, but neither causes the other. It is almost guaranteed that providing resources for trauma care will have no impact on children’s future criminal behavior.
According to a BBC report, “up to 25 young people and their families will be offered free interventions that will include one-to-one support, group work, mentoring, life skills and professional therapy.” The tiny sample size is underpowered to find any reliable causal effects.
Why Is This Happening?
The National Lottery Community Fund supports a range of projects to build healthier communities and individuals. The Crysalys Foundation is focused on providing resources to care for psychological trauma victims.
Details of the project are not yet available on the Community Fund website. We’ll keep checking and hope to report on the methods in the future. We‘ll be most interested in how the outcome of committing crimes is measured, and how the project is able to determine the cause of crimes.
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