More funding needed to prevent antisocial behaviour

The social care workforce needs more funding to support families and prevent antisocial behaviour, parliament heard yesterday.

Children’s campaigner Lord Listowel told a House of Lords debate on antisocial behaviour that social workers were unable to offer enough parenting support because of funding difficulties and a high turnover of staff.

“A lot of investment needs to be made to ensure that the social workforce is transformed,” the independent peer said. “Vacancy rates for social workers can be as high as 20 per cent in urban centres….they are the people who could do the most to support families and prevent antisocial behaviour.”

Baroness Vivian Stern, a longstanding penal campaigner, called antisocial behaviour legislation “a poor and unjust substitute for a properly resourced policy on family and child care and support for neighbourhood initiatives by local authorities”.

The debate focussed on a recent Youth Justice Board report on antisocial behaviour orders, which found that almost half of children breached their Asbos and many viewed them as a “badge of honour.”

Labour peer Lord Bassam said the breach results were not “an indication of failure” and that the YJB’s sample was not representative of the general population.

He also denied that young people were being “demonised or criminalised” by Asbos.

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