Children’s minister defends government’s antisocial behaviour policy

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes has denied children are demonised by policies designed to tackle antisocial behaviour in her first interview with Community Care since her appointment to the role.

Hughes said the government believed antisocial behaviour was unacceptable and was determined to ensure everyone had an appropriate sense of their rights and responsibilities.

“Our focus is just as much about adults as it is the minority of children and young people who get involved in behaviour that has a negative impact on their local community,” she said.

“Where this happens, we are not afraid to respond firmly. But we must also remember that young people are disproportionately affected by crime and antisocial behaviour,” Hughes added.

She stressed that young people make a great contribution to society and communities, for example by volunteering.

The minister also made clear that she did not think teenagers had been neglected through the government’s focus on children outlined in the Every Child Matters agenda.

“I don’t think teenagers have been neglected,” she told Community Care. “But Every Child Matters changed the way in which services for young people are delivered locally.”

“It was right to take the opportunity to reflect on those achievements and look to build on what worked well, and change those things that were less effective.”

“My expectation is that Youth Matters will deliver even better services for teenagers,” she concluded.

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