Antisocial behaviour strategies need to ‘strike a balance’

The government needs not only to be tough on antisocial
behaviour, but also tough on the causes of it, according to
research published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation today,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The study, which looked at public attitudes towards antisocial
behaviour, concluded that national and local antisocial behaviour
strategies needed to strike a balance between enforcement and

It also warned that more care was needed in defining antisocial
behaviour and determining limits on the use of civil remedies.

Researchers from King’s College in London who carried out
the research found that issues relating to children and young
people caused particular concern and people were worried about drug
and alcohol misuse.

The research concentrated on three case study neighbourhoods and
people blamed antisocial behaviour on:-

· Social and moral decline

· Disengaged youth and families

· ‘Kids will be kids’ attitudes.

The first two perspectives assumed that problems of antisocial
behaviour were getting worse because of a generalised process of
decline or because of the increasing disengagement of a minority of
young people and their families.

However, the third group did not think that the problem was
getting worse, but suggested that the context of youthful
misbehaviour was changing.

As a result, the different perspectives on antisocial behaviour
implied different solutions. While those who thought it was a
consequence of declining moral standards favoured tough discipline,
those who saw it as a result of deprivation and social exclusion
preferred prevention and inclusion.

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