The Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Nigel Williams, today welcomed the Equality Commission’s recommendation that the Northern Ireland Office must carry out an Equality Impact Assessment on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).

11 May 2005 News

In a finding yesterday, the Equality Commission found that NIO failed to take account of how ASBOs might have an adverse impact on young people and children and failed to carry out a full Equality Impact Assessment.

While the Equality Commission did not agree with the Commissioner for Children and Young People that there was not enough time for consultation the decision to ask the NIO to examine the impact of ASBOs on children and young people is an important one for the commissioner.

“The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states clearly that children and young people must have a say in the decisions that affect their lives,” said Mr Williams.

“The introduction of anti-social behaviour orders was carried out without regard to this crucial right of children and young people. That is why we backed the Children’s Law Centre’s challenge and made our own challenge.”

In June of 2004, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People was refused a judicial review of the NIO’s actions to introduce ASBOs

“Anti social behaviour is a blight on many people’s lives in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Williams. “However, I don’t believe ASBOs are the best way to combat it, and especially believe that ASBOs will affect children and young people disproportionately.

“I believe there are other, better, ways to look at how anti-social behaviour can be reduced. Indeed, children and young people I have spoken to, and who took part in research for me, have identified many of the causes of anti-social behaviour.”


Notes for editors:
The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland issued its findings on 10th May 2005

Details of previous statements from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People can be found here on the web site.