A coalition of 13 major children’s charities have obtained
legal advice that the Antisocial Behaviour Bill contains
significant breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Children
The coalition says the controversial bill “appears to undermine
(children, young people and their parents’) rights as
established in both domestic and international legislation”.
Legal opinion from Anthony Jennings QC lists four aspects of the
bill which are believed to breach human rights legislation. These
- The police power to disperse groups of two or more people.
- The police power to return a child under 16 to their home.
- The power of the criminal courts to impose compulsory fostering
requirements on some convicted children.
- The removal of reporting restrictions in respect of children
who are the subject of antisocial behaviour orders.
In a joint statement, the charities also voiced serious concerns
about lack of consultation on the measures in the bill before it
was published. It also failed, they said, to establish a common
definition of antisocial behaviour.
The signatories to the statement are: Barnardo’s,
Children’s Rights Alliance for England, the Children’s
Society, Family Service Units, National Association for the Care
and Resettlement of Offenders, National Association for Youth
Justice, National Children’s Bureau, NCH, NCVCCO, NSPCC, The
National Youth Agency, Save the Children UK and YMCA.