Report (2nd Day)

Part of Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 22nd October 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Baroness Finlay of Llandaff Crossbench 6:15 pm, 22nd October 2014

My Lords, the hour is getting late and I am aware that we are hoping to divide the House on another amendment. I have spoken about the antecedents and health problems related to some of these young people’s behaviour. However, I remind the House that there are big differences between the girls and boys. More than half the girls have witnessed domestic violence, compared to about a quarter of the boys; 35% of the girls have substance-abusing mothers, compared to about 9% of the boys; and 18% of the girls have substance-abusing fathers, compared to 5% of the boys. When you take the very small number of girls who are extremely disturbed into an environment and confine them near a large number of boys who are also very disturbed, it is almost like putting them in a pressure cooker. I hope that the importance of not having a minority of girls on this site has been taken on board by the Government.

I cannot stress enough the importance of having high-quality clinical staff available, too. This is not just about staffing the posts but having very highly trained people who want to live in that area, be there with a sufficient support infrastructure and have ongoing training and education—as well as succession planning so that one is not left with low staffing levels that could create a crisis.