Clarke’s “naming and shaming” plan slammed

Guidance slammed

Charles Clarke

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has come under fire over new guidance
announced today urging local authorities to “name and
shame” individuals issued with antisocial behaviour

The Association of Directors of Social Services and charities
slammed the proposals, warning they would put children at
Chair of the ADSS children and families committee John Coughlan
said there was “no evidence” to show that “naming
and shaming” acted as a deterrent to criminal

He added: “We are very concerned about the potential risks
this will pose to children who are vulnerable and out of control.
Local authorities need to ensure there are proper safeguards for
the needs of these children.”

The latest government statistics showed that 45 per cent of the 730
Asbos issued from July to September 2004 were given to juveniles,
and nearly half of all orders were breached.

Publicising is now the norm

The new guidance published today states that “publicising
should be the norm not the exception”.

Announcing the guidance today, Clarke said: “Many offenders think
that they are untouchable and above the law. If they thought that
there would be a news blackout on their actions they must now think

“Publicising Asbos been tested in the courts and today we are
making the position crystal clear – your photo could be all over
the local media, your local community will know who you are, and
breaching an Asbo could land you in prison.”

The guidance was created following a High Court decision last year
to uphold the “naming and shaming” of three teenagers
on Asbos in Brent after they claimed their right to private and
family life had been breached.

Personal details and photographs of the boys aged 15, 16, and 18
were distributed to thousands of homes and posted on the

The judges ruled that the publicity was “justified, reasonable
and proportionate” and dismissed applications for judicial

“A cheap piece of electioneering”

Frances Crook, director of the Howard League for Penal Reform
called the guidance “a cheap piece of

She warned: “This guidance will put children in danger, and I
dread the day when a child is beaten up in their community because
of being named and shamed.”

Coughlan said the ADSS would support local authorities who engaged
in preventive work to ensure that Asbos were used “only as
the exception, not the rule”.

In an evidence session on antisocial behaviour to the home affairs
select committee last week, Youth Justice Board chair Rod Morgan
also expressed concern over “naming and shaming”.


YJB chair Rod Morgan

Morgan told the committee: “We are extremely worried about
any proposition that there be a presumption in favour of loss of
anonymity and publication. There are circumstances where
exceptionally it can and should be used, but we think it is
inappropriate and it can be in some instances profoundly

Morgan cited a recent case in Brighton where a 16-year-old girl
with “very substantial” mental health problems had
breached an Asbo and received two-page coverage in the local

He told the committee: “The psychiatrist informed me that it
was now virtually impossible to arrange housing and mental health
support for this girl who needed it because she had the mark of
Cain so indelibly stamped upon her public forehead.”

Children’s charity Barnardos also told the committee they
were concerned that Asbos would be seen as a “badge of
honour” for young people among their peers.

To view the guidance, see:




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