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Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004

Finance and Public Services and Communities – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of Donald Gorrie Donald Gorrie Liberal Democrat 2:00 pm, 16th September 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the commissioner for children and young people on the impact of the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004. (S2O-3261)

Photo of Mary Mulligan Mary Mulligan Labour

Ministers on the Cabinet's children and young people delivery group met the commissioner in June. They had positive discussions about the commissioner's priorities and about the Executive's agenda to support and encourage young people to achieve their potential and to make positive lifestyle choices. That includes diverting a small minority of young people away from antisocial behaviour.

Photo of Donald Gorrie Donald Gorrie Liberal Democrat

That is excellent, as far as it goes. Will the minister consider using the commissioner as one method of reassuring young people that they are not being stigmatised, because a lot of the publicity surrounding antisocial behaviour—which I am sure did not reflect anything that the minister said, although the message appeared in the media a lot—was seen by young people as anti-them? Anything that we can do to persuade them that the act is not anti-them would be helpful. The commissioner could help in that way.

Photo of Mary Mulligan Mary Mulligan Labour

I appreciate that the commissioner could be helpful, but I would not want to suggest to her what her agenda should be. However, Donald Gorrie is correct in saying that at no time during the debate on antisocial behaviour did any minister say that the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 was anti-young people. In fact, we continually reiterated the point that it was often young people themselves who were the victims of antisocial behaviour.

Ministers have continued to speak with young people. I met young people recently in Elgin in Moray to discuss issues around antisocial behaviour and how they are being addressed within the local area. It is important that we continue to have such dialogue. In fact, just last week, on 11 September, YouthLink Scotland held a conference to ensure that young people had an opportunity to examine the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004, to comment on it and to see how it would affect their lives.

Photo of Johann Lamont Johann Lamont Labour

I hope that the minister agrees with me that in any future dialogue with the children's commissioner it is important that ministers express the strong view that the needs of young people such as those in my constituency who are chased away from youth facilities because of the behaviour of a small minority, or who are kept in their homes because their parents are afraid to let them go out as a result of what is happening in their communities, should be discussed. The commissioner should be listening to those young people as a matter of urgency and working with the Executive and other agencies that are trying to make our communities as safe as possible.

Photo of Mary Mulligan Mary Mulligan Labour

It is clear that our reason for progressing the Antisocial Behaviour etc (Scotland) Act 2004 was to improve the quality of life of all people throughout Scotland, which includes children and young people.