ASBOS ON TRIAL: Are children being unfairly penalised with Anti-Social Behaviour Orders?
1 Backer raised €15 of €2730

Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) risk creating a criminal sanction for behaviour which is not criminal.

They were introduced to help gardaí police children’s behaviour while keeping them out of the criminal justice system. As they are based on vague definitions of public order, critics have said that they undermine children’s civil liberties, rather than helping them.

Our investigation will expose where in Ireland ASBOs are used most frequently and uncover reasons for any inconsistencies across the country.


ASBOs can be applied to children ages 12-18 engaging in anti-social behaviour. They are issued by a Children’s Court but the anti-social behaviour warnings that usually precede them are issued at the discretion of the gardaí.

In 2020, 1500 warnings and 30 ASBOs were issued. However, civil liberties groups worry they overreach. In the UK, anti-social behaviour laws have led to people being incarcerated for feeding pigeons.

We will examine whether anti-social behaviour laws are applied proportionately.

In 2022, the Minister for Justice asked the gardaí to review their use, including why there are more issued in some parts of Ireland than others.

Our investigation will scrutinise what is deemed anti-social behaviour by the gardaí and whether this is consistent across Ireland.

We will also speak to children and their families about the impact of ASBO policing.

Want to see this investigation happen? Click the 'Fund This Proposal' button.

You can contact us at [email protected] and find out how we work here. Our investigations are sourced from and crowdfunded by the public.

1 Backer raised €15 of €2730
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