Children’s commissioner challenges government on ASBOs

The commissioner for children and young people in Northern
Ireland has applied for a judicial review because he doesn’t
believe young people were properly consulted over proposals to
introduce antisocial behaviour orders.

The commissioner, Nigel Williams, is unhappy with the amount of
time that the Northern Ireland Office gave for young people to be
consulted on the proposed legislation to introduce antisocial
behaviour orders. The consultation was extended by a just a week in
order for this to be accomplished.

Williams believes that the government may be in breach of
article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which
requires countries to involve children in decisions that affect
their lives.

Linda Kerr, head of legal and complaints for the commissioner,
said that the views of children and young people had not been fully
taken into consideration.

“If children as young as 10 are expected to understand an
antisocial behaviour order they should also be consulted on their
introduction. There was an opportunity here to not only consult
children and young people on antisocial behaviour but also to
undertake a programme of exploring why it takes place and asking
children and young people to identify ways of combating it,”
she said.

She added that there was concern over how little the draft
legislation took account of concerns that ASBOs will be counter
productive in tackling antisocial behaviour.

Judicial review application papers have been lodged with the
High Court.


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