Family breakdown causes terrorism, says former judge

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Jul 13, 2017
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Sir Paul Coleridge also said that an epidemic of family crises was contributing to mental health issues and domestic violence

Ben Gurr for The Times

Family breakdown in the UK has reached epidemic levels and is spawning crime and even terrorism, a former High Court judge has warned.

Sir Paul Coleridge, who sat as a judge for 14 years, said there was a clear link between family instability and terrorism which ministers were failing to tackle through legislative measures. “Terrorists are all from appalling family backgrounds – Donald Trump was right: they tend to be losers with no ties and so they find their identity in groups of like-minded people; or suffer mental breakdown.”

Similarly, many people in prison came from broken homes, he said. “Family instability is at epidemic levels and the UK is at the top of the family instability league compared with other developed nations,” he said.

Children, he added in an exclusive interview with The Times, were those most severely affected by the epidemic, in which, he said, the collapse of families was at record levels. “Nearly half of all teenagers are not living with both their natural parents,” he said. “Teenage mental health issues, child abuse, domestic violence and abuse, the social care crisis, the housing crisis – every one is either primarily caused by or massively exacerbated by the scale of family breakdown.”

Sir Paul, 68, was effectively forced out of his job as a High Court judge five years ago because he wanted to set up and promote his charitable think tank, Marriage Foundation. He was hauled before the judicial authorities and disciplined for misconduct for speaking out in support of marriage and giving interviews. The upshot was a formal warning in December 2013, which he condemned as “disproportionate and unfair”. The month before that, Sir Paul announced that he would step down as a judge in April 2014 because of opposition from within the judiciary to his public pronouncements.

See: Government must promote marriage and tackle our social problems

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