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A Guide to Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs)


What is an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC)

An ABC is a voluntary written agreement between a young person, usually aged between 10 and 18, and the local authority and police. Under the ABC, the young person agrees not to be involved with certain specified anti-social acts.

The terms of the ABC are developed and agreed with the young person in an interview.

They then sign the contract in the presence of their parents or guardian, a representative of the local authority and a local police officer.

The contract normally lasts for six months. It is not legally binding but, if breached, can be used as evidence if enforcement action needs to be taken through the courts.
 

Why an ABC?

ABCs aim to ensure that young people who behave anti-socially take responsibility for their actions and improve their behaviour.

They are made aware of their impact on other peoples' lives and warned of the possible consequences to them and their family, should their anti-social behaviour continue. Our first priority is to stop the bad behaviour. During the ABC interview, we may be able to offer diversion projects, for example through local youth clubs, mentoring or counselling. We want to steer young people away from causing problems and towards a better lifestyle.
 

What could a contract include?

The ABC spells out the behaviour that the young person has agreed to stop. For example, they may agree not to:

  • Write graffiti or cause other deliberate damage to property
  • Verbally abuse passers-by
  • Climb on any roof tops, lift shafts or any other area out of bounds
  • Congregate in groups in stairwells and other communal areas
  • Dump rubbish or litter
  • The young person's parents may also be asked to agree to certain conditions to help and support their son/daughter
 

What happens if the young person fails to attend the interview?

If they fail to attend without good reason a second invite will be sent.

If this is also ignored, it can be used as evidence should enforcement action be taken.
 

What happens after the ABC has been signed?

The local authority and the police monitor the contract. The young person is expected to abide by the conditions and successfully complete their contract.
 

What happens if the ABC is breached?

Serious breaches of the ABC may lead to enforcement action. This may include applying to the court for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

If there are minor breaches, a meeting will normally be held with the young person to reiterate the terms of their contract and decide whether any further action needs to be taken.
 

Forms of Anti-Social Behaviour

Anti-social behaviour that can be tackled by ABCs can include:

  • Harassment of residents or Passers-by
  • Verbal abuse
  • Criminal damage
  • Vandalism
  • Noise nuisance
  • Writing graffiti
  • Engaging in threatening behaviour in large groups
  • Racial abuse
  • Drinking alcohol while under age
  • Substance misuse
  • Joyriding
  • Throwing missiles
  • Assault
  • Vehicle crime
  • Criminal acts i.e. theft, burglary.
Contact Information
Contact by Post

Community Safety Unit
Tameside MBC
Dukinfield Town Hall
King Street
Dukinfield
Tameside
SK16 4LA
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 3367
Contact by Fax
0161 342 4284
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