In both Scotland and England, reducing anti-social behaviour (ASB) and building a culture of respect are key central government priorities. Accordingly, since 1997 both jurisdictions have seen the introduction of a raft of punitive legislation. Over recent years, however, there have been signs that the official ASB agenda has shifted away from a reliance on 'enforcement measures' towards a more balanced approach incorporating measures to address the underlying causes of problem behaviour. With their emphasis on 'whole family' approaches and parenting interventions, ASB family projects, pioneered by the Dundee Families Project (DFP), are seen to respond to official concerns about social exclusion and have been promoted as an effective and sustainable response to ASB. In both Scottish and English jurisdictions official endorsement of the DFP model has been marked by government-funded programmes to 'roll out' this concept more widely. Drawing on findings from a recent evaluation of ASB family projects operating in Scotland combined with scrutiny of evidence from a number of English studies, this article explores, in a comparative manner, the differences and similarities in the policy discourses and models of practice employed by Scottish and English projects. More specifically, we critically appraise the role played by sanctions in evoking service user engagement.