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

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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