Anti-social behaviour orders
An anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) is a court order that is meant to stop someone committing particular anti-social acts or going to certain areas. It lasts for at least two years. An order can even prevent somebody from being with certain people or from going near a house where they have caused problems.
Individuals cannot apply for an ASBO for someone who is harassing them or causing a nuisance, but various authorities can, including:
- the police (and the British Transport Police);
- local authorities; and
- registered social landlords (such as housing associations).
ASBOs are community-based orders that depend on local people to provide evidence of how they are working and to tell the authorities if people break them. It is a criminal offence to breach an ASBO, and if someone does, they can be arrested and imprisoned for up to five years.
An ASBO might not be enough to deal with the problem. Another step would be to get an injunction from the courts under the Protection from Harassment Act to stop someone harassing you. An advice agency may be able to help you with this.
These are voluntary arrangements where the parents and a body, for example, a local council’s youth offending team, agree a system for improving a child’s behaviour. Schools and local education authorities can enter into parenting contracts with the parents of a child who has been a truant or excluded from school.
These are imposed by a court and can be used when a child or young person has been involved in anti-social behaviour or criminal conduct. Parents will have to attend a parenting course and are responsible for making sure their child goes to school. If the parents don’t keep to the order, they could face a heavy fine.
Local councils, head teachers and the police are able to fine parents if their child plays truant. If the penalty is not paid, the local council can prosecute the parents.
Nuisance neighbours panels
These are new bodies made up of experts from local authorities, the police and voluntary organisations. Their role is to liaise with the community and help solve problems for or about difficult families who live there. These panels are mainly to help social landlords such as housing associations to sort out disputes.
Community Legal Advice “Neighbourhood and Community Disputes” leaflet series:
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- Community Legal Advice