Length of Asbos criticised by Youth Justice Board

    The Youth Justice Board has raised concern over the
    “excessive” length of antisocial behaviour orders
    imposed on children as young as 13-years-old, writes
    Maria Ahmed.

    Research by the YJB submitted to the Home Affairs
    Committee’s inquiry on antisocial behaviour today found that
    while the average length of Asbos imposed by civil courts was 39
    months, they ranged from the minimum of two years to 10 years.

    The YJB pointed out that the terms were longer than for a
    comparable order in the youth justice system.

    The Board also questioned whether it was effective for orders on
    young people to be “so far in excess of the minimum
    length…considering how much a young person’s
    circumstances and maturity can change within that
    period”.

    The study also found that case information on Asbos was
    “generally inconsistent and patchy”.

    The YJB recommended that Youth Offending Teams should be made
    responsible for collecting the data by April, and said it would
    publish more detailed research on Asbos in September.

    Cecilia Hichen, assistant director of social services at
    Hounslow Council, representing the Association of Directors of
    Social Services, also told the committee there should be
    “more emphasis” on prevention work and engagement of
    young people in dealing with antisocial behaviour.

    She criticised the government’s “punitive”
    approach and called for the Asbo strategy to be integrated with the
    Every Child Matters agenda 

    The ADSS also recommended that parenting orders for those whose
    children were subjected to asbos should be scrapped and said that
    help should be offered to families on a voluntary basis.

    The ADSS, YJB and children’s charity Barnardo’s also
    spoke out strongly against the naming and shaming of children given
    Asbos and called for reporting restrictions to be put in place.

     

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