The Standing Committee for Youth Justice has produced a briefing for the Second Reading of the Anti-social Behaviour Bill in the House of Lords. The briefing outlines our concerns on certain aspects of the Bill, namely: the broad definition of anti-social behaviour; the low standard of proof necessary to secure an injunction, the lack of anonymity for children going through injunction proceedings or receiving an injunction; the need for all under-18s receiving an injunction to have a full health and welfare assessment; the use of custody as a sanction for breaching an injunction and the need for judges to have disgression when looking at eviction proceedings. Read the briefing here.
As part of it’s scrutiny of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill the Joint Committee on Human Rights asked organisations and individuals to submit evidence detailing their concerns about the ASBCP Bill. The Standing Committee answered the call for evidence with a detailed review of how the proposals as they stand currently do not conform with the government’s obligations to children under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Read our submission here.
The SCYJ, in conjunction with the Criminal Justice Alliance, released a statement listing our issues with the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill which you can view here: Joint Statement on ASB Bill by CJA & SCYJ.
We also had a letter featured in The Times which you can view below.
Letter printed in The Times, Monday 10 June
We welcome measures to ensure communities can take control and tackle anti-social behaviour effectively.
However, the current Anti-Social Behaviour Bill is seriously flawed as it fundamentally redefines and broadens the scope of what constitutes anti-social behaviour to include “conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance”. Clearly, the list of potential activities that could fall within this definition is limitless; what some may find to be innocent fun can annoy others.
The new ‘Injunction to prevent nuisance and annoyance’ can be handed down to anyone over the age of 10 years old within a matter of hours, is subject only to a low burden of proof, is open to indefinite periods of duration for adults, and does not require any form of intent. Breach of the injunction can result in sanctions, including imprisonment.
Such ill-thought-out legislation will sweep up all kinds of noncriminal and non-serious behaviour – wasting police time and clogging up the courts. It threatens to take resources away from genuinely harmful or distressing behaviour, where the police and other services should be focused.
The coalition and opposition should listen to the call by the cross-party Home Affairs Committee to “end the arms race” against Anti-social Behaviour by setting reasonable limits on the behaviour covered by the new powers.
Dr Charlotte Alcock, CEO, MAC-UK
Dr Tim Bateman, National Association for Youth Justice
Sandra Beeton, Executive Director, Association of Panel Members
Andy Bell, Deputy Chief Executive, Centre for Mental Health
Jodie Blackstock, Director of Criminal Justice Policy, JUSTICE
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive, Young Minds
Ellen Broome, The Children’s Society
Anne Marie Carrie, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s
Frances Crook, Director, The Howard League for Penal Reform
Dr Hilary Emery, Chief Executive, National Children’s Bureau
Penelope Gibbs, Chair, Standing Committee on Youth Justice
Vicki Helyar-Cardwell, Director, Criminal Justice Alliance
Charlotte Hill, Chief Executive, UK Youth
Professor Kathryn Hollingsworth, Newcastle Law School
Gareth Jones, Chair, Association of Youth Offending Team Managers
Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive, Leap Confronting Conflict
Juliet Lyon, Director, Prison Reform Trust
Gracia McGrath OBE, Chief Executive, Chance UK
Nick Pickles, Director, Big Brother Watch
Susanne Rauprich OBE, Chief Executive, National Council for Voluntary Youth Services
Isabella Sankey, Policy Director, Liberty
Jane Slowey, Chief Executive, The Foyer Federation
Emma Thomas, Chief Executive, YouthNet
Paola Uccellari, Director, Children’s Rights Alliance for England