Children’s commissioner accuses executive of “punitive approach” to antisocial behaviour

Scotland’s first children’s commissioner has criticised the
“punitive approach” of the Scottish executive towards the
antisocial behaviour of children, writes Maggie

Kathleen Marshall said that she shares the concerns of
children’s agencies in Scotland, and accused the executive of
creating “a punitive atmosphere without providing sufficent
resources to deal with the problem”.

She said the children’s hearing system, if properly
resourced, would be well placed to deal with antisocial behaviour.
The system is “struggling with minimum resources”, whilst the
executive’s initiatives to tackle youth crime, such as the pilot
youth court in Hamilton, are given “fantastic”

“It (children’s hearing system) has never really had the
resources to implement all its solutions to antisocial behaviour,”
she said.

Proposals in Antisocial Behaviour Etc (Scotland) Bill include
the extension of antisocial behaviour orders to 12- to 15- year
olds, greater police powers to disperse groups of young people, and
increased use of electronic tagging and parenting orders.

Marshall said she hoped there will be liaison between herself
and the children’s commissioners in Northern Ireland and Wales, and
that whilst there are some distinct overlaps in roles there are
also some differences.

Marshall will take up the post in April.

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