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Acceptable Behaviour Contracts

What is an Acceptable Behaviour Contract?

What kind of behaviour warrants an ABC?

How do you organise an ABC?

What are the terms of an contract?

What happens when an contract is breached?

 

What is an Acceptable Behaviour Contract?

An Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) is a voluntary agreement between an agency such as the Borough of Poole and a named individual. Their aim is to stop anti-social behaviour in our communities. Another form of an ABC is a Neighbourhood Agreement or Compact whereby a section of the community agrees on a course of action to solve a particular problem such as nuisance children, car parking and other forms of unacceptable behaviour.

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What kind of behaviour warrants an ABC?

Any type of anti-social behaviour can be addressed by an ABC and they usually follow on from other interventions such as verbal and written warnings, and often as a result of a multi-agency case conference. The types of behaviour addressed could include:

  • vandalism
  • petty theft
  • graffiti
  • abusive behaviour
  • racial abuse
  • noise
  • drunkenness
  • harassment

An ABC is particularly useful at tackling low level anti-social behaviour in its earliest stages so as to prevent the behaviour from escalating. They demonstrate to perpetrators the agency’s determination to tackle the problem and show that other people are also involved in the process of combating anti-social behaviour in the local area.

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How do you organise an ABC?

As the ABC is a voluntary agreement, any organisation can draw one up. In Poole, ABC’s tend to be organised through the Anti-Social Behaviour Co-ordinator who works with other agencies such as the Police, other council service units and Registered Social Landlords.

ABC’s are a useful tool for tackling anti-social behaviour in young people, their parents or guardians also sign the agreement. We have also successfully used them for adults where appropriate.

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What are the terms of a contract?

An ABC may contain a combination of positive and negative terms. The ABC may prohibit the association with other individuals, ban someone from certain areas or premises, enforce a curfew.

For young people it may also include attending school or co-operating with youth workers. Linking ABC’s with rewards and initiatives is being trialled in Poole under our Positive Behaviour Initiative. ABC’s typically last for six months with a three month review, after this they may be amended, discharged or legal actions taken.

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What happens if a contract is breached?

As the ABC is a voluntary agreement there are no legal sanctions attached to breaches of the contract. We rely on the goodwill of the candidate and their willingness to change their behaviour, pressure from parents and the intervention of other agencies all working together. If the offending behaviour continues and cannot be addressed by further discussions and interventions the process may move through other phases such as an Anti-Social Behaviour Order or ASBO (see Fact Sheet 8).

To breach an ABC, or the failure to sign one when requested, demonstrates an unwillingness or inability to address or change the offending behaviour and these actions may be used in court if we have to progress that far.

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Contact Details

Email
community.safety@poole.go
v.uk

Telephone
01202 633516

Text Relay
18001 01202 633805

Address
Housing and Community Services
Civic Centre
Poole,
BH15 2RU