1st Edition

Delinquency and Child Neglect

By Harriett Wilson Copyright 1962
    196 Pages
    by Routledge

    Originally published in 1962, this was the first comprehensive study of a group of families often referred to as ‘problem families’. Harriett Wilson shows that they are not a homogenous group, and furthermore, that they do not possess any unique personality traits. On the contrary, the disabilities which are found among the families who took part in this investigation are also found in the general run of the population. The main disabling factor turned out to be the social isolation to which these families are subjected.

    This isolation affects not only the personality of father and mother, but it also has a profound effect on the character formation of their children, who tend to become delinquent. The child from this environment has not learnt to control their impulses effectively enough to take part in social life on a normal basis. They are handicapped from an early age.

    Harriett Wilson concludes that the delinquency found in this environment is a symptom of a total family situation which can only be treated at the family level by preventative family services. Today it can be read and enjoyed in its historical context.

    This book is a re-issue originally published in 1962. The language used and views portrayed are a reflection of its era and no offence is meant by the Publishers to any reader by this re-publication.

    Preface.  1. Trends in Juvenile-Delinquency Studies  2. Aims and Methods of the Seaport Survey  3. The Parents  4. The Children  5. Housing Conditions  6. Performance Inadequacy  7. Juvenile Delinquency: The Facts  8. Juvenile Delinquency: An Interpretation  9. Conclusions  10. Some Practical Proposals.  Appendices.  Bibliography.  Index.


    Harriett Wilson (1916–2002) was a sociologist, anti-poverty campaigner and the founder, in 1965, of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). Her discovery of the overlap of poverty, juvenile delinquency and problems at school also led her to set up an experimental pre-school play centre, an initiative taken further in the Sure Start programme launched in 1998.