I must admit I did not know that ASBO stands for Anti-Social Behavior Order. It is a civil legal order that operates in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. The following groups can apply for one:
- local authorities (councils)
- transport police
- registered social landlords
- housing action trusts
Evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, must be presented in court to support the request for an ASBO. A magistrate makes the final determination for issuance. If issued, the ASBO lasts for a minimum of two years.
Behaviors considered anti-social and, therefore, within the purview of an ASBO: anything that causes harassment, alarm, or distress to one or more people who do not live with the person being considered for an order, or a pattern of behavior that affects so many people that it needs to be addressed by the community. Here is a sample of suspect behaviors from an extensive list on AntiSocialBehaviour.org.uk:
- abusive verbal behavior
- boom-box cars/vehicles (noisy car stereos)
- bullies and bullying
- criminal behavior
- criminal damage
- damage to property
- domestic violence
- drug and alcohol misuse/abuse
- harassment/harassing passers-by or local residents
- homophobic behavior
- neighbor intimidation
- nuisance animals
- overgrown, unkempt gardens
- racist behavior/racial harassment
- running a business from home
- use of inappropriate places for sport/activities
- vandalism, graffiti
Well, I would probably be in trouble because of the slow progress on my exterior home remodeling projects and, possibly, because of my non-immaculate yard in the summer. Then again, I could be in trouble because I homeschool!
That aside, what drew my attention to this in the first place was the use of an ASBO against an eight-year-old boy, Michael Brachter, who was ordered not to go outside his home with a hammer, saw, screwdriver, nails, chisels, knives, scissors, or secateurs (pruning shears). Apparently, young Michael likes to use these tools to play Bob the Builder games in his neighborhood, an activity that residents of his housing trust felt was out of hand. To read a more complete article about that, click here.
Personally, I think there is more to this situation than meets the eye because children younger than ten are not supposed to be subject to an ASBO, and because the mother in this situation is also banned from several activities, among them allowing cannabis in her home, playing loud music, and having more than three visitors a day at her residence.
One final piece of information: if you break an ASBO, you could get up to five years in prison.
I am so glad I live in the United States.
Note: Please know that I do not condone anti-social behavior. I just don’t think the ASBO is the best way to deal with it.
Inspired by a little-known picture book from the pen of Bethany Tudor, this is a diary, of sorts, where I document some of my thoughts, activities, and ideas as I explore the challenges met by the characters in the story: hard work, the care and nurture of others, housekeeping skills, life changes, charity, community, and cooperation, among others. Like Samuel and Samantha, the ducks in the tale, I struggle and succeed, cope and celebrate, work and play, handling the tasks that come my way. I invite you to join me on my journey.