The ASBO breach rate in England is now 70%. The proportion of families stopping ASB after an 'ASBO Sin Bin' project is not the claimed 64% but 19%. Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have effectively given up the ASBO since it does not work. ASBOs issued in the UK have halved since the 2006 peak. 60% of ASBO accused in court were found to have a diagnosed mental disorder according to 2002 Home Office data. ~80% of the families forced into ASB FIPs (ASBO Sin Bins) were found to have serious mental / physical health problems and learning disabilites. 47% of the children were ADHD or autistic spectrum. Yet these families are forced into ASB FIPs under legal threats of eviction, loss of benefits and loss of children.
The ASB Crusade has failed because it has targeted the mentally disordered and then failed to provide professional medical treatment for the 'offenders' who are typically very vulnerable themselves. (60% of 'families from hell' were found to be victims of ASB themselves). The punitive ASB laws have achieved nothing in tackling ASB. Emerging research suggests that medical treatment of several kinds may crack the real problem.
Why does this idea matter?
1. The current ASBO laws and processes are not delivering sustained reductions in ASB.
2. The system is targeting very vulnerable children and adults with mental disorders BUT not providing medical treatment which might help them and reduce ASB in poor communities.
3. The waste of money is therefore enormous. Extending the ASB Family Intervention projects to 50,000 'chaotic families will cost £200-400 million in the coming years.
4. The ASBO has decimated ancient legal principles such as the presumption of innocence, the right to face your accuser and the need to prove 'guilty mind'. It has also broken the universality of the law by inventing individual, one off, offences. It mixes civil and criminal law in a dangerous way. Now that we know the breach rate is 70% on the balance of evidence we must expect an ASBO to fail 'to provide protection' to the victim and therefore the second ASBO condition can never be met. Giving an ASBO now must border on the unlawful. All this is apart from breaches of the right to privacy and a family life under the European Convention and so on. It is little wonder that the courts are increasingly reluctant to grant ASBOs.