Sixty Second Interview

Sixty Second Interview with Ruth StarkRuth Stark

By Amy Taylor

Why do you think the take up of antisocial behaviour orders and curfew orders for under-16s and parenting orders has been so low in Scotland?

We already have a range of interventions available through the children’s hearing system which address both the care and behaviour of children and young people who are experiencing difficulties at home or in the community – and the Asbos add little to that range of options to help people change aspects of their lives.
Do you anticipate councils using them more in the future as they become more well known?

I would expect those professionals working for the councils to undertake a full assessment of a situation and then take appropriate action. I am not sure that ASBOs will be used much more by social workers.
Do you think that the high use of Asbos in England is influenced by the government’s wish for councils to take a hard line on antisocial behaviour?

In listening to some of the people who have used Asbos, both service users and professionals, I think that they have been seen as a gateway to resources such as supporting parents which should have been available in the community.

Individual Support Orders, measures designed to provide 10-17 years olds with services to tackle the underlying cause of their antisocial behaviour, are meant to be issued alongside Asbos to young people who aren’t already receiving any tailored support but a new report from the Social Exclusion Unit has found that since April 2004 only 16 have been issued compared to almost 2,000 Asbos. Do you think young people who behave anti-socially in Scotland are treated more holistically than in England?

Is the Support Order a Supervision Requirement by another name?! It is important to understand both needs and deeds in whichever country or culture one lives – often young people struggle with the vocabulary to explain their perception of their living conditions.
Recent research has shown that high numbers of young people with mental health problems and learning difficulties are being given Asbos inappropriately in England. How does Scotland treat young people with these conditions who behave antisocially?

The skills to recognise young people’s angst and distress coupled with the resources to help them deal with these issues are painfully short north and south of the border. Time to do an assessment with a young person and to work with them on finding positive outcomes need investment rather than the too oft heard rhetoric from politicians that ASBOs work.

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