Anti-Social Behaviour Consultation

Closed 4 Mar 2024

Opened 28 Nov 2023


Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a term used to describe a wide range of behaviours that have a negative effect on quality of life and may cause minor disorder and incivilities. While much of this behaviour may not, in itself, be a criminal offence, the cumulative effective of this behaviour can have a devastating effect on the quality of life of individuals and communities.

Addressing the issue of ASB is a priority for both the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Department for Communities (DfC).  A commitment to review ASB legislation was included in the draft Programme for Government 2016-21, and this work remains ongoing.

In 2018, DoJ carried out a public consultation to review the criminal legislation framework to tackle ASB.  Following that consultation a multi-agency, cross-governmental ASB Legislation Review Delivery Group was set up to take forward the outworkings.  This group, chaired by DoJ, consisted of representatives from DoJ, DfC, the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA), the Northern Ireland Courts & Tribunals Service (NICTS), the Police Service Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) and Belfast City Council.

The ASB Legislation Review Delivery Group has considered the outworkings of the previous consultation and are now seeking views from stakeholders to shape the final decisions for proposals which seek to amend legislation to help address ASB and its effects within our communities.  The proposals relate to:

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs);
  • Drinking in Public;
  • Injunctions Against Anti-Social Behaviour; and
  • Absolute Grounds for Possession.

DoJ are considering legislative change including the provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 in relation to ASBOs, and are working collaboratively with DfC as joint policy leads on proposals to address the issue of drinking in public, including review of the uncommenced provisions of the Criminal Justice (NI) Order 2008.

DfC Housing Division has identified two topics for future legislation: Injunctions Against Anti-Social Behaviour and Absolute Grounds for Possession. DfC has agreed with the DoJ for these proposals to be published alongside their proposals in a combined consultation.

DfC aims to bring forward a Housing Bill that would amend the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 (in respect of injunctions against ASB) and the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1983 (in respect of grounds for possession).

These proposals would bring the relevant Northern Ireland legislation more closely in line with provisions enacted for England and Wales in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

Why your views matter

The DoJ and DfC wish to hear from a broad base of viewpoints regarding the proposals being considered. Please provide any information which you believe could be helpful. You are encouraged to submit your views by answering any or all of the questions in this consultation.

What happens next

We will analyse the responses received and publish a report of our findings.  We may publish all responses except for those where the respondent indicates that they are an individual acting in a private capacity (e.g. a member of the public).

Your response, and all other responses to this consultation, may also be disclosed on request in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR); however, all disclosures will be in line with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679.


  • Parents
  • Citizens
  • Business
  • Voluntary and Community Sector
  • Government Department
  • Local Government
  • Statutory Body
  • Charity, Community and Voluntary
  • Criminal Justice Agencies
  • All Stakeholders


  • Consultation