Saturday, February 16, 2008

a specific proposal on social problems

I wouldn't be distinguishing myself from the other candidates if I just spoke about the importance of developing a sense of belonging and community in our youth. I could go on at length about the Broken Windows approach, but even that would be something of an abstract discussion.

So I have a specific proposal to suggest:

if elected MLA, I would ensure cross-reporting between animal protection agencies and social welfare agencies

Where does this proposal come from? It starts from a recognition that whatever one's view of the Young Offenders Act, criminal law is a matter of exclusive federal jurisdiction and provincial politicians looking to deal with crime and deviance must examine other tools. Now I'm not a NDP type who thinks that crime is caused by poverty instead of by criminals. But I do recognize that it is not especially innovative or reflective to not look at the sorts of social backgrounds that criminals tend to have. There seems to be solid evidence for the contention that many anti-social adults were abused as children. Certainly an abusive childhood seems to be a common marker amongst sex trade workers. Now of course everyone is against child abuse. But the question is how to stop it without having social services spying on every family. I have come across a fair bit of evidence suggesting that if children in a home are abusing animals, there is good reason to suspect there are other forms of abuse occuring in the home. If animal protection agencies or law enforcement should encounter a case of, say, a 5 year old seriously harming animals, this should raise a red flag and social services should look more closely at the family situation. Cross-reporting is already the law in California and Illinois, so this proposal is not without precedent.

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