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GOVERNMENT HAS SHOWN NO REAL SOLUTIONS TO ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

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Shelter today warned that the government's ...
Shelter today warned that the government's

reluctance to include more prevention-focused measures in its antisocial

behaviour strategy will severely damage its effectiveness in the

long-term. The charity is also extremely alarmed that despite widespread

criticism, measures to dock housing benefit from people accused of

antisocial behaviour still appear to be on the agenda.

Adam Sampson, director of Shelter, said: 'There is a glaring hole in the

government's strategy*. Where are the real solutions that work at

changing, rather than just punishing, antisocial behaviour? Where are

the measures to make sure people don't offend in the first place? Only

when the government is as interested in long-term solutions as it is in

making loud statements to the electorate will antisocial behaviour be a

thing of the past.

Shelter urged the government to introduce more rehabilitative solutions

such as Shelter's Inclusion Project in Rochdale, which has already

shown to be extremely effective in confronting antisocial behaviour.

This kind of innovative service is based around challenging behaviour

and tackling its root causes rather than just punishing people.

The government kept the option open of its plans to dock Housing Benefit

from people found guilty of antisocial behaviour. Earlier this year a

coalition of 31 organisations, including Shelter, demanded that

these controversial plans be scrapped as they cause innumerable problems

and do not solve antisocial behaviour.

Mr Sampson continued: 'These measures, which will only force people

further into poverty and increase homelessness, have absolutely no place

in a strategy supposedly aimed at dealing with antisocial behaviour.'

* see LGCnet.

Notes

1. The government proposal to cut Housing Benefit to tenants accused

anti social behaviour was consulted on earlier this year. The deadline

for responses to the prop osal was 12 August 2003. A coalition of over

thirty leading organisations has come out against these proposals to cut

housing benefit to anti social tenants. These include includes Shelter,

the Local Government Association, the Tenants Participation Advisory

Service, the Law Society, and other tenants groups, housing

organisations and charities. In a joint statement they described the

proposal as 'discriminatory, ineffective and ill-conceived'. Copies of

the joint statement and a list of all the organisation signed up contact

Shelter on 020 7505 2162

2. Shelter's Inclusion Project has been developed in partnership with

Rochdale MBC as an innovative way of tackling

antisocial behaviour. It provides support to people who are homeless, or

at risk of homelessness, due to alleged antisocial behaviour, and works

with them to tackle their behaviour and enable them to sustain their

tenancies

3. Last year a mother and two children were put in touch with the

project after being moved five times as a result of her son's disruptive

behaviour. The Inclusion Project helped her overcome her drink problem

and showed her and her son how to confront his behaviour. She has now

not drunk alcohol since December and her son is no longer causing

trouble.

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