11 Oct 2013

Responding to the Joint Committee on Human Rights' report on the government’s anti-social behaviour bill, Peter Grigg, Policy and Campaigns Director at The Children’s Society, said:

'The government needs to listen to the Committee’s concerns about the impact this bill will have on children.

'Lowering the definition for anti-social behaviour to causing ‘nuisance or annoyance’ risks criminalising a wide range of normal childhood behaviour and fast-tracking children into the criminal justice system. 

Children drawn into criminal justice system

'It is so vague that it will be difficult for children to know what is expected of them. Everyday childhood activities like playing football or hanging out with friends – if perceived as a nuisance or annoying - could put children at risk of being drawn into the criminal justice system.

'It is fundamentally wrong if children as young as 14 - who have not committed a crime – can be put in a prison for just ‘causing a nuisance’.

'Anti-social behaviour is a serious issue for the communities it affects. But punitive measures like this have failed before, and more of the same will not work.'

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Notes to editors

  • The Children’s Society wants to create a society where children and young people are valued, respected and happy. We are committed to helping vulnerable and disadvantaged young people, including children in care and young runaways. We give a voice to disabled children, help young refugees to rebuild their lives and provide relief for young carers. Through our campaigns and research, we seek to influence policy and perceptions so that young people have a better chance in life.