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Research Study on the use of Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) for Young People


The Youth Justice Board has commissioned the Policy Research Bureau, working together with Nacro, to undertake a research study on the use of anti social behaviour orders (ASBOs) for young people aged 10 to 17 years. Much of the concern about ASBOs tends to focus on their application in relation to children and young people. No ASBOs were served on young people before September 2000 but by September 2001, 58% of those subject to orders were under 18 years of age. By November 2003, this proportion had risen to 65%. Little is known about the backgrounds of young people subject to ASBOs but it seems likely that they will sometimes be known to youth offending teams (Yots) and will generally have similar characteristics of those who are under supervision of the Yot. In this context, the relationship of ASBOs to other aspects of the youth justice system has become increasingly important in developing a coherent and holistic response to the prevention of youth crime.

While recent figures are not available, it appears that rates of breach of ASBOs are relatively high with more than a third of orders being breached within a year. Yots have performance indicators requiring them to limit the use of custodial sentences and remands. In that context, the extent to which breaches of ASBOs lead to custodial outcomes is an important issue which requires investigation.

What does the research focus on?

The broad aims of the research will be to study the current use of ASBOs for young people. The research aims will be clearly focused on the following issues:

(a) Determining the characteristics of the young people who are being given ASBOs (e.g. personal, socio-economic, etc)
(b) Exploring the use of ASBOs, both within the civil and criminal courts to identify any disparity in use
(c) Examining the differences in content, length, compliance of order and any relationship with breaches
(d) Determining the number of breaches and action taken particularly where breaches result in custodial sentences for young people
(e) Exploring the Yots' involvement in the ASBO process. As part of this we would want to look at firstly, the consultation process in both civil and criminal cases and secondly, the extent to which Yots are able to divert from ASBOs
(f) Identifying and assessing the use of guidance by magistrates, the police, local authorities and Yots
(g) Exploring the range and availability of good practice models of working inter-agency in dealing with young people on ASBOs
(h) Identifying the range and quality of preventative programmes undertaken by the Yot and others which are being used in combination with or as an alternative to ASBOs
(i) Identifying community perception on the use and effectiveness of ASBOs

What does the research involve?

The overall approach of this study will be to compare the use of ASBOs in Yot areas which have high use with those who seldom use ASBOs. The research involves a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods. In quantitative terms, systematic information will be collected on an expected sample of 170 individual cases where ASBOs were made. In addition these data will be complemented by a series of qualitative interviews with a sample of young people in receipt of ASBOs, Yot personnel, Local Authority representatives (including Anti Social Behaviour Coordinators), the Police and other identified stakeholders. There would also be a number of focus groups with community representatives. This qualitative component will enable us to unpack the views of a range of stakeholders on the use and effectiveness of strategies and protocols in place for the use of ASBOs.

Timescale and final products of the research

The research was completed in 2006 and a report was published in 2007.

Solanki A-R, Bateman T, Boswell G and Hill E (2006) Antisocial Behaviour Orders for Young People. London: Youth Justice Board for England and Wales.

See Publications for further details.

Last updated March 2007

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