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The challenge of antisocial behaviour: new relationships between the state, children and parents

Cleland, A. (2001) The challenge of antisocial behaviour: new relationships between the state, children and parents. International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, 19 (3). pp. 395-420. ISSN 1360-9939

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Relationships between children, parents and the state do not remain the same over time and are not necessarily consistent at any one time across policy arenas. These relationships, though, can remain unexamined and individually negotiated until they are highlighted by major policy change. Such a change has recently occured in Scotland, where the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 has extended Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) to children and introduced Parenting Orders (POs), which can require parents to attend counselling or guidance sessions. ASBOs shift state intervention from focusing on children's welfare and needs to focusing on their behaviour. The welfare-based children's hearing system will no longer be the primary decision-making forum as the court is the decision-maker for both these new orders. POs emphasize parents' responsibility for controlling their children. POs provide a direct route for parents to receive support, which they did not have before, but only through a compulsory order. Both children and their parents will be held responsible to their communities' values, in new court-enforced mechanisms.