The Government should combat crime by concentrating on social problems such as poverty, sexism and general male attitudes to women, a report said yesterday.
Think-tank the Crime and Society Foundation said reforms of the criminal justice system were largely ineffective and the Government was ignoring the suffering of thousands of victims because it was concentrating on targeting crime through policing and the courts.
Eradicating crime by improving the standard of living would reduce crime far more effectively, its report went on.
"A serious attempt to tackle poverty and inequality is likely to have benefits far beyond simply making the poor better off," said the study.
"It is plausible to argue that systematic attempts to address income and power inequalities in society will have a positive impact on gendered violence by helping to address the causes of male violence.
"The tragedy lies not in the desire to address the causes of criminality, but in the concentration of energies on various criminal justice programmes that at best have had a marginal impact."
There was also a great need to tackle some men's attitude to women, it said.
One survey from 2000 showed 40 per cent of men believed it would be acceptable to hit their partner for sleeping with another man and 20 per cent for neglecting their children.
"Much violence suffered by some of the most vulnerable in our society will not begin to be addressed until the systemic misogyny and sexism of British society is confronted," the report said.
And pursuing a hopeless quest to drive up the conviction rate had sent the Government up a "policy cul-de-sac", it argued.
The study concluded: "The Government's flawed analysis has masked the true scale of criminal justice failure."
Report author Richard Garside said: "Our levels of crime and victimisation reflect the way that we organise our society, not the relative toughness of our criminal justice system.
"The way to a safer and lower crime society lies in policies to reduce poverty, challenge sexism, and tackle concentrations of power." ..SUPL: