8 Jun 2004

Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People applies for Judicial Review over Anti-social Behaviour Order Consultation.

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People today applied for a judicial review on the way the Northern Ireland Office has consulted on proposed legislation to introduce Anti-Social Behaviour Orders in Northern Ireland.
 
Linda Kerr, Head of Legal and Complaints for the Commissioner said they had asked for an extension to the consultation to allow children and young people to be consulted fully. While the consultation was extended by a week, the Commissioner did not believe this was sufficient.
 
“We believe that the views of children and young people have not been fully taken into consideration,” said Ms Kerr.  “If children as young as 10 are expected to understand an anti social behaviour order, they should also be consulted on their introduction.
 
“We are very concerned at how little the draft legislation has taken account of our concerns that ASBOs will be counter productive in tackling anti social behaviour.”
 
Letters were sent on behalf of the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People to senior civil servants and to Criminal Justice Minister John Spellar raising our concerns over the consultation. 
 
“There was an opportunity here to not only consult children and young people on anti-social behaviour, but also to undertake a programme of exploring why it takes place and asking children and young people to identify ways of combating it,” said Ms Kerr.
 
Ms Kerr concluded by saying that they understood that anti-social behaviour caused distress for many people in Northern Ireland but was concerned that proper consultation on the introduction of ASBOs had not taken place.
 
ENDS

For further information contact the Press Office on: 028 9031 1616                  

Notes to editors:

  • Papers applying for a Judicial Review were being lodged with the High Court at 3:30 pm today, 8th June
  • All interview requests are to be made via the above number.
  • The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People believes that the consultation on the draft legislation may be in breach of Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which specifically requires countries to involve children in decisions that affect their lives
  • Anti Social Behaviour Orders originated in England and Wales with the Crime & Disorder Act 1998
    ASBOs in England and Wales were extended with the Police Reform Act 2002
  • Because of different administrative structures in Northern Ireland the Northern Ireland Office decided to monitor their introduction in England and Wales
  • The Community Safety Strategy (published 18th March 2003) said legislation in England and Wales was to be examined to determine if anti-social behaviour orders would be appropriate in Northern Ireland.