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Breakthrough Northern Ireland

The work of the Centre for Social Justice recognises the following five key ‘pathways to poverty’, and aims to reverse the ingrained and cyclical social breakdown they generate:

  • family breakdown
  • educational failure
  • economic dependency
  • addictions
  • indebtedness

These pathways are all interrelated. Children from broken homes are twice as likely to have behavioural problems, perform worse at school, become sexually active at a younger age, suffer depression and turn to drugs, smoking and heavy drinking.

A large body of research has informed the work around these five pathways to poverty, and many of the policies from Breakthrough Britain and other Centre for Social Justice publications are presented here as effective solutions. These solutions should be locally grounded in the economic, social and political climate of Northern Ireland and implemented urgently. Although social breakdown may be more pronounced in a society marred by a legacy of social division and inter-community conflict, the fundamental need to tackle the underlying drivers of poverty and interrupt cycles of intergenerational social exclusion remains the same.