New report claims Asbos routinely given to young people with mental health issues

Over a third of under-17s issued with an anti-social behaviour order have a diagnosed mental health disorder or learning difficulty, new research suggests.

A survey of antisocial behaviour officers and youth offending teams by the British Institute for Brain Injured Children reveals that Yot officers reported special needs or a learning difficulty in 38 per cent of their cases, including conditions such as autism and depression.

By contrast, ASB officers reported that just 5 per cent of their cases had special needs or a learning difficulty.

BIBIC chief executive Julie Spencer-Congoz warned that a failure to understand these children’s underlying difficulties had meant they had often been given orders they did not understand and could not keep.

“Without specialist help they are set up to fail, and a breach of an Asbo is a criminal offence,” Spencer-Congoz said. “This is the wrong way to be treating vulnerable young people. Asbos are failing both the young offenders and the communities they are supposed to protect.”

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