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March 20 2018

From the UK: Lads Need Dads

by Charlotte Hays

The U.S. isn't the only country seeing a rise in fatherless households.

In the UK, Sonia Shaljean, a counselor who has worked with troubled men and believes boys suffer from a "masculinity void" in their lives, has founded an organization called Lads Need Dads.

The Telegraph of London recounts how Shaljean came to see a need for such an organization:

Having trained as a criminologist and counsellor and worked on front-line services with troubled men for over 20 years, Shaljean says her immersive and compassionate approach led to an awakening. “I’d worked a lot in anger management and change and started to piece together the affects of absent fathers when I was working across the domestic abuse, probation, homeless and addiction sectors. I started to ask: ‘Why are they like that?’ I saw the common thread of absent dads.

“The facts are startling: 1.1 million young people are growing up with little or no access to fathers. These men have less empathy and are more likely to go on and offend: 76pc of our prison population had an absent father. Some 84pc of the homeless population are men. Three quarters of suicides are men. If these statistics were reversed [applied to women], we would be out on the streets of Westminster picketing now. But we’re not.

Lads Need Dads exposes boys to "positive masculinity" through male volunteers and also tries to help them catch up in school.

This is a far cry from automatically affixing the word "toxic" to the word "masculinity."

While we recognize the struggles and sacrifices of single-mothers (and it is generally a mother who heads a single-parent household), we're always glad when the importance of fatherhood is highlighted.

Some of the boys' stories will break your heart, but this is an uplifting story. I urge you to read it.

Lads Need Dads has won a prestigious Centre For Social Justice National Family Award.

IIndependent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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