Charities have rounded on proposals to tackle antisocial behaviour
in Scotland, saying they will do nothing to address the causes of
Homelessness charity Shelter and the Aberlour Child Care Trust said
a consultation document launched by ministers last week would have
Aberlour said the “punitive” measures focused on the under-16s but
ignored issues that often caused antisocial behaviour, such as
family disruption, learning difficulties, low educational
attainment, mental health problems and substance misuse.
“Coming out with solutions such as tagging and antisocial behaviour
orders will do nothing to address the complex underlying factors
associated with young people’s behaviour,” said Kelly Bayes,
Aberlour head of policy.
Shelter believes that, rather than change the law, a broader debate
is needed. A spokesperson said: “There are few concrete plans [in
the document] for investing in communities in terms of hard cash.
The real gap lies in the people, money and political will to
deliver long-term answers.”
The strategy focuses on measures to cope with children acting in an
antisocial manner and parents who fail to cope with their
children’s behaviour. It includes a greater use of acceptable
behaviour contracts and extending the use of antisocial behaviour
orders to 12-15 year olds.
The strategy proposes strengthening the options available to
children’s hearings, including a greater use of reparation. It also
suggests using electronic monitoring for those dealt with in
children’s hearings and the criminal justice system.
Fixed penalty notices may be introduced and police may be given
powers to disperse groups of young people where antisocial
behaviour is a persistent problem. Parents of antisocial children
may also face parenting orders.
But Bayes raised concerns over how the parenting orders would be
implemented. “The system is failing to cope with the formal
supervision orders issued by the children’s hearings panel so
serious consideration needs to be given as to who will be able to
undertake the work required by these parental orders.”
– Consultation from www.scotland.gov.uk/publications/recent.aspx