Justice Minister David Ford has been urged to consider the introduction of parenting orders to combat youth offending and help bring rioters under control.
Mr Ford is next week due to announce a review of youth justice within Northern Ireland to look at ways to keep young people from offending and subsequently entering the criminal justice system.
It is understood that the review will also look at the possibility of raising the age that a child can be held legally responsible for criminal actions from the age of 10 to the UN recommended age of 12.
Yesterday Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland said that parenting orders could be a useful tool to help prevent young people becoming involved in violent street disorder, like that seen in Newtownabbey this week which involved children as young as 10.
Parenting orders, which were introduced in England in 2000, can be given to the parents/carers of young people who offend, truant or who have received an Anti-Social Behaviour Order or Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
A parent/carer who receives an order will normally be required to attend counselling or guidance sessions for a period of up to three months.
They may also have conditions imposed on them, such as attending meetings with teachers at their child's school, ensuring their child does not visit a particular place unsupervised, or ensuring their child is at home at particular times.
A parent/carer can be prosecuted for failing to keep the requirements of the order.
“There is a responsibility on the parents to know what their children are up to.
“Parenting orders are something I would be very willing to look at as part of a review of youth justice. Parents need to take responsibility for their children and I think something that will help ensure they do take this responsibility would be welcomed,” said UUP justice committee member Paul Givan.
SDLP committee member Conall McDevitt added: “I would be very open-minded about things like parenting orders. The events this week, and what happened during the summer, indicate that significant issues around youth justice need to be addressed.
“This review could be a good opportunity. However, I want to see an independent review, not the internal review that we are getting, as I do not believe this will go deep enough.”