The medical role in the treatment of delinquency is a limited one. There is conflicting evidence as to whether treatment aims should be directed towards the individual, to the family, the institution, or the therapist. Nevertheless there seems to be a consensus of opinion that short term, focused therapies aimed at improving educational, vocational and social skills, possibly from a preschool age, are the most effective. Any treatment gains achieved while in residential care appear to be short lived. It therefore seems that this should be reserved for those individuals who commit repeated, violent crimes and for those from very damaging family backgrounds who repeatedly abscond or absent themselves from community based programmes.
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