The Criminal Justice Act 2006 provides for civil proceedings to tackle anti-social behaviour (often known as ASBOs). These provisions set out an incremental procedure for An Garda Síochána to address anti-social behaviour by adults and children:
- in the case of adults, a behaviour warning, followed by a civil order
- in the case of children, a behaviour warning, followed by a good-behaviour contract, followed by a behaviour order
In setting up the scheme, the intention was that behaviour warnings or good-behaviour contracts would themselves address the problem behaviour. It is only if they fail that a court order will be applied for. In any case, it inevitably takes time to reach the stage where a court order itself might be sought. Where warnings or good-behaviour contracts do not succeed in altering a person's behaviour, the process will culminate in an order being sought by the Garda authorities from the courts.
The issuing of ASBOs is a civil process, and it becomes a criminal matter only if a behaviour order issued by the courts isn’t obeyed.
ASBOs were introduced for adults in January 2007 and for children in March 2007.