Antisocial behaviour orders for children should be abolished,
according to the Howard League for Penal Reform writes
In its submission to the home affairs select committee’s
inquiry into antisocial behaviour, the charity states that ASBOs
isolate, exclude and stigmatise young people and have urged their
“This legislation damages children and their communities,
but it also distorts the efforts that can be put into dealing with
and preventing more serious crimes that have a greater social
cost,” said Frances Crook, director of the Howard League.
The charity claims that when ASBOs were first introduced it was
intended that they should be rarely used against young people,
although children have now become the focus for the orders.
It also believes that ASBOs can exacerbate social exclusion and
increase social tensions and some local authorities are putting
children at risk by publishing leaflets which include the names and
photographs of children alleged to be involved with antisocial
Excessive and inappropriate use of ASBOs has also resulted in an
increase in the number of children being imprisoned. In its
submission, the charity highlights that Hassockfield Secure
Training Centre holds 17 per cent of its boys and 33 per cent of
its girls for breaching ASBOs.
“We fear that current legislation has the effect of
widening the net of the criminal justice system, by criminalising
naughty children and their parents, the mentally ill and those in
social housing,” the submission concludes.
The charity would instead like to see resources injected into
activities that engage children in a positive and constructive