Charities insist antisocial behaviour bill is in breach of children’s rights

Sections of the government’s proposed Antisocial Behaviour Bill
could contravene both the Children Act 1989 and the Human Rights
Act 1998, according to an independent report commissioned by an
alliance of charities.

Thirteen charities including The Children’s Society, Barnardo’s and
NCH have joined together to raise concerns about a number of the
bill’s proposals which they argue apply short-term solutions to
long-term problems.

“We fear that the effect of the bill will be to alienate children
and young people from their communities, to scapegoat children and
young people and reinforce negative stereotypes,” a joint statement
from the group says.

The independent report by Anthony Jennings QC says the proposal to
remove restrictions on reporting cases of children subject to
antisocial behaviour orders could breach both the Children Act and
the Human Rights Act.

Jennings also condemns as a “nationwide curfew on young people
under 16” the bill’s plans to give police powers to return a child
to their home after 9pm in certain circumstances.

The clause giving the police powers to immediately disperse groups
of two or more “contains some breathtaking provisions” and breaches
several parts of human rights legislation, Jennings adds.

A separate report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights published
this week also raises concerns over whether the bill is compatible
with human rights in relation to police powers to disperse groups
of two or more people.

The alliance has called on the government to rethink its plans and
urged it to “focus on positive and effective approaches to ensuring
safer more cohesive communities and providing opportunities for
children and young people”.

The bill received its second reading in the House of Lords last
week. It will be scrutinised at committee stage, planned for 11

Meanwhile, Linda McNamara, who was banned from areas of north
London for eight years last year under an antisocial behaviour
order, has failed in her challenge to the ban in the High

– JCHR report from

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