Professionals urged to appreciate wider impact of antisocial behaviour

Many communities believe that multi-agency teams are doing little to help those living in fear, delegates at Community Care LIVE Children and Families heard today.
Bill Pitt, a member of the prime minister’s Respect task force, said professionals needed to be aware that people often felt that too much was being done to help the perpetrators of antisocial behaviour, while the local communities were left unsupported.

“I think it is time that there was a coherent debate on the nature of the impact of antisocial behaviour on the communities that we are serving, and the kind of measures that are being put in place to make sure that communities don’t live in fear,” he said.

He said it was a “nonsense” that antisocial behaviour orders were being “thrown around like confetti”. “There is a judicial process and that judicial process is about the examination of evidence,” he insisted.

However, Janet Batsleer, head of youth and community work at Manchester University, described the Respect agenda as a fear agenda.

She also claimed that the issuing of Asbos to young people meant many more children were ending up in young offender institutions, as a result breached orders.

“About 40 per cent of Asbos are breached and about half of all breaches lead to prison,” she said. “Perhaps it is time to recognise that young people have feelings and thoughts as well as behaviour, and that the negotiation of boundaries that happens in adolescence can’t be legislated for by the issuing of a piece of paper.”

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