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Last Updated: Friday March 24 2006 18:35 GMT

Asbos helped me: Jennifer's story

Jennifer.
Jennifer is a grandma who's lived in her home in Manchester for 19 years.

But last year gangs of kids on her street made the 60-year-old's life hell until they were given anti-social behaviour orders.

She talked to Newsround about her life before and after the Asbos.


What was it like before the Asbos were put in place ?

We couldn't use the garden, I was too scared to go and sit in the garden.

It was like living in a nightmare. We were scared to go to bed.

We had as many as 35 children and they were children from the age of six or seven up to 17.

They were vandalising, they were smashing fence panels. They were drinking, screaming and shouting.

They would kick their football into the garden and walk all over the plants to get it and if you complained then they'd swear at you.

But the thing I noticed most was that the younger children were led by the older ones, that was the scary part and it strengthened the gangs.

What happened when you got the Asbo?

Eventually we got the Asbo out against two particular youths who were older and who were controlling the younger ones and that seemed to diffuse it. The younger ones stopped coming around and peace reigned.

What difference have the Asbos made to your daily life?

Now I can potter around in the garden without being abused. If a kids throw the football in then they'll ask if they can get it and that's not a problem. They're no trouble at all.

I can go out to the shops and, more importantly, the elderly people have started to come back to the shops because before they were scared to go there because of the gangs.

That's what we have achieved by getting these Asbos.

What would be your message to kids?

Think about your own parents and grandparents. Imagine them sitting in their house and having all these things going on around them and imagine how they'd feel.

Not all kids are bad. There's 99% who are good, but they can be controlled by the 1%.

They need to think for themselves and think what they are doing and who they are effecting. If they continue they can get Asbos and they can destroy their lives.

Do you think Asbos work?

Asbos do work in a variety of ways. They take out the ringleader for a start, that's a good thing. You get a leaflet with their picture on it and if you see them breaking their Asbo, you can ring the police and they will be arrested.

It takes about a year to get an Asbo so they have plenty of time to try to turn their behaviour around.

The rest of the gang, they get warnings and that can make them think about where their life is going.

This opens the eyes of young children. It tells them that this is what will happen if they continue with this behaviour so they should stop before they become criminals.



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