A submission from Barnardo’s and the charity Babyfather said boys and young men who lack father involvement can develop ''father hunger'', a trauma that leaves them vulnerable to peer pressure and external influences.
Some psychologists argued against stereotyping the Afro-Caribbean community and said fathers could be playing a positive role without being present.
But young people themselves and community workers made a direct link between the absence of a positive male role model and involvement in gangs. One witness said: "If they are not getting the love from home they see it as the only love they can get is from the street.
In the absence of a male role model, many young black men chose to emulate negative, violent lifestyles popularised in some black music and in films, the report says. The committee suggests that some practical measures are possible - including offering ''safe house'' refuges to black gang members who want to break away.