What is antisocial behaviour? The Oxford English dictionary describes it as behaviour that is “destructive of or hostile to other members of society”.
Antisocial behaviour is a problem in all areas of the city and is an issue I wanted to look at and highlight during my term as Lord Mayor. I focused on the types of low-level antisocial behaviour which can make the lives of many in a community a misery. I formed a Lord Mayor’s Commission and invited experts from various organisations and Government Departments to sit on the Commission to discuss the nature and causes of antisocial behaviour, share experiences of evidence-based initiatives which are working and find possible solutions.
The Commission met nine times between October 2011 and May 2012.
I also hosted a conference on 29th February 2012, at which Minister Roisín Shortall, Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care and for the National Drugs and Alcohol Strategy, delivered the keynote address. The theme of the conference was preventing and responding to antisocial behaviour. Over 300 people attended the conference and participated in the workshops and Question & Answer sessions.
This report presents my findings and conclusions following the nine meetings with the Commission, feedback from the conference, and one to one meetings with a variety of experts and people working on the issue of antisocial behaviour from around the city. In drafting this report, I have sought to put the emphasis on solutions that are supported by strong evidence; where necessary, I recommend carrying out more research to gain evidence on how we should most effectively tackle this difficult problem.
The most promising finding from this commission is the importance of parenting in reducing antisocial behaviour in the long-term. If we can help parents to improve the emotional well-being of their children, we can greatly improve quality of life for their children and at the same time reduce the likelihood of antisocial behaviour occurring in our communities.
Ultimately, I recommend an inter-agency response, drawing on the energies and ideas of community and statutory bodies. Inter-agency work is difficult and requires new ways of collaborating. However, there are examples from around the city that it can work. For example, the Ballymun Interagency Group involves 16 agencies who have signed up to a protocol to share information and work together on case management.
It is essential for Dublin that people feel safe in their homes and confident as they travel through their communities. Unfortunately this is not always the case, so we must change how we tackle these complex problems in order to improve the lives of all of us who live in, work in and visit Dublin. I believe that only by working together can we achieve this.
I would like to thank all those who sat on the Commission and gave of their time and expertise to assist me in this work. Special thanks are also due to the sub-group and authors of the chapters for their extensive work in drafting and editing this report.
Lord Mayor of Dublin
Links and Downloads
- Lord Mayors Commission on Anti-Social Behaviour