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Anti-social behaviour stopped with the right support


Anti-social behaviour (ASB) can be prevented by addressing the myriad of social and health care needs of the perpetrators and their families, according to an independent report published today.

The report studied ASB rehabilitation projects, which offer multi-disciplinary support to stop anti-social behaviour by resolving its underlying causes. This can either be by offering support to families in their own homes or by moving families to managed accommodation.

The study, conducted by experts at Sheffield Hallam University, and published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM), found that families referred to the projects have a range of health, social and education needs which are often unaddressed.

The study’s interim research findings show that families referred to the projects tended to be large, and were usually headed by a lone female parent (80 per cent). A quarter of the families had at least one child with special educational needs, 39 per cent had at least one member with mental health problems and 27 per cent had members with drug and alcohol problems. 28 per cent of the families also reported some sort of family violence, which in a number of cases was committed by teenage children.

Families are usually referred to the ASB rehabilitation service when they have been the subject of complaints for a considerable period of time. The majority of the families have received eviction warnings with regard to the anti-social behaviour before they are referred.

Judy Nixon, senior lecturer at the Centre for Social Inclusion at Sheffield Hallam University and leader of the study explains, “The ASB rehabilitation projects typically offer a broad range of support, from practical day to day to help to more complex help that addresses the root causes of the problem behaviour.”

“We found that around 60 per cent of the families who were referred to the project fully participated and agencies who referred families to the project had very positive views about its impact, for example in reducing complaints about anti-social behaviour, improving the welfare of any children and in preventing the need for families to be evicted.

“Whilst these are only interim findings from a small sample of families they do demonstrate that effective, intensive intervention can help families to overcome or manage the underlying issues that can cause anti-social behaviour.”

Lorna Branton | alfa
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