A GUIDE TO THE ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ETC (SCOTLAND) ACT 2004
We all have a responsibility for tackling antisocial behaviour - the Scottish Executive, local agencies and local communities. But it is local communities and local agencies who are in the driving seat - they have a key part to play- supported by the Executive.
We want to galvanise local communities and local agencies to put a stop to antisocial behaviour. We are playing our part. We recognise that there is a lack of support for ordinary people affected by antisocial behaviour - this undermines their confidence which means that they will not report such behaviour when it happens or take a stand against it. People need to know what can practically be done (and in some cases cannot be done) if they are suffering from antisocial behaviour. They need to know who they should approach for help in particular situations and they need to feel confident to do this. This is why, as part of our communications strategy, we are telling the public what services are on offer and help they can expect from their local agencies.
We are also supporting local agencies to make sure they are in a position to respond to their local communities. The new Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 gives practitioners new tools to get on with the job of tackling antisocial behaviour. We have also given substantial funding to every local authority across Scotland to provide services such as mediation, victim support and helplines for people suffering from antisocial behaviour.
The Executive has started a wider programme of practical support. This guide is just one part of that. It gives practitioners an overview of the contents of the Act and how it can be used to resolve antisocial behaviour. Over the coming months we are also providing even more help to ensure local agencies can use the new powers available to them. This will include:
- a series of practical "masterclasses" on different elements of the Act aimed at frontline, operational staff;
- a telephone AdviceLine for professionals working on antisocial behaviour to help them implement the new provisions in the Act; and
- a website for practitioners to showcase good practice.
We have provided a framework and we will continue to work to support local agencies. Now is the time for local agencies to take local action. Together we can make a real difference for the people we all serve. We need to eliminate the climate of hopelessness that has grown up around antisocial behaviour in so many of our communities. We need to encourage a sense of responsibility and confidence. We need to establish a culture of respect. Respect for our communities; respect for our neighbours; and respect for ourselves.
I urge you to ensure that we can effect real change on the ground and I hope this guide helps kick start the process.
Margaret Curran, MSP
Minister for Communities