The Director of the University of Strathclyde-based Children and Young People’s Centre for Justice (CYCJ) is to be the co-chair of a working group on the prevention and addressing of antisocial behaviour.
Fiona Dyer has been chosen as joint leader of the group, established by the Scottish Government, which will look at the current approach and make recommendations on what long-term changes can be made to reduce such behaviour and support victims. It is expected that the group will provide regular updates and present their conclusions to Ministers by the end of 2024.
The group is being formed following the publication of a review of Scotland’s approach to antisocial behaviour. Lorraine Gillies, Chief Officer of Scottish Community Safety Network (SCSN), will also co-chair the group.
CYCJ welcomes the central focus on prevention and early intervention in the report. Antisocial behaviour is a complex problem, demanding a flexible, long-term approach. Different areas encounter different issues; solutions should adapt to the various strengths, assets and challenges within communities across Scotland. Engaging children, young people and communities, modelling prosocial behaviour, and providing opportunities is key to prevention and building resilience.
Fiona Dyer said: “I am really looking forward to working with colleagues to support the prevention of antisocial behaviour across Scotland. Research demonstrates the vital importance and value of better engaging, enabling, and supporting individuals and their communities to reduce incidents of antisocial behaviour.
“Through encouraging active prosocial behaviour within local communities, we can collectively address current issues and develop an inclusive and effective strategy that Scotland will be proud of.
Lorraine Gillies said: “Ultimately, we believe victims will experience less antisocial behaviour with a changed approach, making our communities safer places. We believe in taking evidence-based approaches to what works to reduce crime and antisocial behaviour, focused on tackling root causes and working together with communities to find solutions.
"I welcome the publication of our co-authored report - written in partnership with the Scottish Government - and the announcement of an independent working group, set up to review antisocial behaviour in-depth. I look forward to pursuing this work and, in doing so, improving people’s lives.”
Community Safety Minister Siobhian Brown said: “We want everyone to be, and feel, safe in their community and we are committed to tackling all forms of antisocial behaviour. Reported antisocial behaviour has broadly been in decline over the last decade, but the recent disorder on Bonfire Night, in particular, has shown that where issues arise, these can have a very serious impact for many people.
“The report published today recommends that we need to consider how we best develop our long-term approach to preventing and addressing this type of behaviour. That is why I will be convening an independently chaired working group. It is nearly 20 years since the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 was introduced and it is right that we examine whether this remains fit for purpose and that we assess our wider approach.”
Co-authored by SCSN and Scottish Government, the report follows extensive consultation with frontline staff, citizens, community groups and equality groups, exploring their experiences of ASB. It calls for a new, long-term approach to antisocial behaviour, one that recognises the efficacy of prevention, encourages collective ownership and partnership working, and is able to adapt to societal changes.
CYCJ works towards ensuring that Scotland’s approach to children and young people in conflict with the law is rights-respecting, contributing to better outcomes for our children, young people and communities. The centre produces robust, internationally ground-breaking work, bringing together children and young people’s contributions, research evidence, practice wisdom and system know-how to operate as a leader for child and youth justice thinking in Scotland and beyond.