Charity warning over youth Asbos

CHILDREN'S campaigners today warned that dishing out Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) to troublesome teens had failed to tackle the epidemic of youth disorder.

CHILDREN'S campaigners today warned that dishing out Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) to troublesome teens had failed to tackle the epidemic of youth disorder.

The message was issued after it emerged that more than a quarter of Asbos currently in operation in Suffolk had been handed to children, some as young as 14.

A Freedom of Information request made by The Evening Star to Suffolk Constabulary found that of the 42 'live' Asbos, 12 had been given to those under 18.

Young people's charity Action for Children said the orders, which were pioneered by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, had been unsuccessful in driving down youth offending.


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Ross Hendry, the charity's head of public policy, said: “Asbos are not a particularly effective way of addressing the problem.

“They don't stop the spiral of young people getting into trouble.

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“Giving an Asbo to a young person does not begin to address what they are doing and why they are doing it.

“We try to work behind the issue and tackle the cause of the root problem. In our experience, we find young people are constantly being told what they are doing wrong and that encourages feelings of rebellion.

“They feel they are expected to behave in a bad way and they live up to that expectation.”

Mr Hendry said a more suitable way of dealing with youth disorder was through the issuing of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC), an informal procedure which outlines the conduct expected of a person.

He said: “ABCs are a positive way of saying 'this is the sort of behaviour we want you to exhibit'.

“Young people often need guidance, support and structure and ABCs offer a far more positive message.”

Andy Solomon, Ipswich Borough Council's anti-social behaviour network manager, said the issuing of an Asbo was a last resort.

He also revealed that there was currently only one youth with an Asbo in Ipswich.

He said: “There are a number of interventions for young people and their families in relation to anti-social behaviour orders, from parenting programmes to Youth Offending Service projects.

“But at the end of the day, if you have gone through those stages and the young person and their family refuse to engage you are left with no option.”

Should teens be punished with Asbos? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Asbos in Suffolk:

There are currently 42 live Asbos in Suffolk

Of those, 12 were issued to individuals aged under 18

Thirty were issued to adults

Thirty-six were issued to males and six were issued to females

The youngest individual issued with an order was 14

The oldest was 61

Source: Suffolk Constabulary

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