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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 13:01 GMT
Black youths 'in need of fathers'
Still from BBC series Babyfather
The BBC series BabyFather looked at the lives of black fathers
Young black men are "crying out for fathers" to provide stability in their lives, MPs have been told.

Community worker Reverend Les Isaacs told the Commons home affairs committee there was a "very high proportion of absent fathers" in the black community.

This was having an "enormous impact" on boys and young men, he added.

London mayor Ken Livingstone's equality adviser, Lee Jasper, said the crime rate was "toweringly disproportionate" within the black community.

He wants a Royal Commission to look into the problem, adding that fear of crime among young black people was "absolutely huge".

The home affairs committee is looking into young black people's involvement with the criminal justice system.

Media reporting

It was told last month that 57% of black Caribbean children grew up in lone parent households, compared with 25% of white children.

Rev Isaacs said many youths were "looking for a role model... they don't find it in the home".

He added: "Because of the lack of stability, that male figure in the home, we find that it leads them, more often than not, to the wrong part of activities in the community."

Mistrust of the police sometimes led young black men to resort to violence as they take matters into their own hands, Rev Isaacs said.

Reverend Nims Obunge, of the Peace Alliance, said parts of the black community felt "no sense of pride" and that media reporting of black crime was a problem.

One tabloid editor had "said to me, they do not pick up the issues of the black community because it just goes on... it's just them shooting themselves", he added.

Hear from some London teenagers on the issue

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