[...] I now think that the proper answer is to add to the ASB laws measures that target failing and dysfunctional families early, and place those families within a proper, structured, disciplined framework of help and insistence on proper behaviour.
I know this is difficult and controversial, because it involves intervening before the child is committing criminal offences, at least serious ones, and when the families have not yet become a menace. But talk to any teacher in a primary school, social worker or local police officer and they can identify those families easily.
Instead of years with social services trying and failing to persuade them to change, those families, usually dependent on benefit and often in social housing, need to be made to change. Visit the Dundee Family Project for an idea about how it can be done.
It is very tough. It is intrusive. Naturally, people will complain about the "nanny state", but, for some of these families and their children, a nanny state is what they need - for their sake as much as for ours. Read more