Antisocial behaviour: What can be done?
When dealing with antisocial behaviour, it’s always best to try to sort out the problem yourself if possible. Try talking to your neighbour and discuss your concerns with them in a reasonable and polite manner. Most neighbours will respond to a reasonable request and it’s better to approach them first and try to work things out between you. If this approach doesn’t work, or you feel unable or are frightened to talk to your neighbour, contact Yorkshire Housing who will try to help you.
If you are witnessing or suffering from nuisance, crime and antisocial behaviour it is important to keep detailed records of what is happening to you and your family. So that the police or Yorkshire Housing can help quickly, we will need dates and times of incidents; what exactly happened; who said or did what; and how long the incident lasted. It is important you tell us how the nuisance or antisocial behaviour makes you feel, or if it is harming your health.
Our promise to you
We aim to:
- Actively discourage nuisance or antisocial behaviour
- Reduce problems associated with antisocial behaviour
- Take positive action against, or on behalf of residents
Our service standards
- We will aim to remove racist and offensive graffiti within 24 hours and other graffiti within three working days
- We will aim to repair serious damage to property caused by antisocial behaviour within 24 hours, and within five working days in less serious cases
- We will keep your information confidential and will never share this without your approval
- If it is an urgent case we will be in touch within 24 hours, otherwise we will contact you with 5 working days
- We will investigate your complaint, to do this we will speak to both yourself and the person you have made a complaint against
- If the complaint is upheld, we will decide on a course of action, keeping you informed at every stage
- If the complaint is not upheld then we will close the case, letting you know verbally in writing that we have made that decision and why
- If there is not sufficient evidence then we will look for other options or close the case
- If the situation does not improve after the initial action, we will look at other options for further action, we may need to involve third parties such as the police
What happens if problems continue?
Mediation is when an impartial person – trained in dealing with difficult discussions between 2 opposing sides – acts like a referee in a dispute. No one is forced to enter into mediation, but both sides are encouraged to try it, as conflicts ended through mediation prove to be more successful resolutions, lasting the longest.
Restorative Justice is similar to mediation, however, the process is slightly different because one side has accepted they have been wrong in their behaviour, and both neighbours now need to work out a way forward. Mediation is usually where there is a difference in lifestyle or a clash of personalities.
Other actions Yorkshire Housing can take are:
- To issue warnings
- To issue sound recorders or CCTV equipment
- To issue physical security measures such as extra locks and security lights
- To issue a written warnings to perpetrator
- Injunctions (county court orders) against perpetrator
- To begin eviction proceedings
- To involve the police
Our policies and procedures
Antisocial behaviour policy
Antisocial Behaviour Policy Statement of Intent Yorkshire Housing is committed to tackling antisocial behaviour experienced by our customers, their neighbours, staff or contractors. This policy sets out Yorkshire Housing’s approach towards preventing and stopping harmful behaviour in our neighbourhoods. There are separate policies covering Harassment and Domestic Abuse. These three policies and procedures are closely linked. Background Tackling and preventing antisocial behaviour with customers and partners is at the heart of Yorkshire Housing’s aim of providing the very best homes possible. We believe that customers have the right to live free from concern about antisocial behaviour. Our approach includes:
* Prevention of antisocial behaviour through a variety of physical and social interventions, including clear communication of our expectations and the use of Starter Tenancies
* Dealing promptly, proportionately, and effectively with incidents of antisocial behaviour, keeping complainants and the wider community regularly updated where appropriate, and using legal remedies where necessary
* A commitment to working with perpetrators to change their behaviour wherever possible, and to support victims and witnesses with practical measures and regular updates.
* Tenancy Injunctions
* Civil Injunctions (ASB, Crime & Policing Act 2014)
* Demoted Tenancies
* Possession (including mandatory possession and starter tenancy Section 21 Notices)
The Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 The ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 seeks to focus on victims’ needs; empower communities to stop antisocial behaviour and to provide professionals with faster and more effective powers to stop it. Support for victims and witnesses We understand that a critically important partner in resolving problems of antisocial behaviour is the victim and witness. Their experiences vary in severity from lacking sleep through loud music; being annoyed by a barking dog; being targeted with abusive or threatening language; witnessing criminal behaviour or even being the victim of violence or hate crime. Victims and witnesses may be isolated in their neighbourhood and will be looking to Yorkshire Housing to act as a champion, and a companion. We will offer support to customers in the form of:
* Prompt interviews and regular updates
* Use of CCTV and sound recording equipment
* Requesting extra police patrols
* Issue of personal alarms
* Use of window locks and security lights
* Court protocols and liaison for witnesses
* Leaflets giving advice on legal actions
* Out of Hour telephone contact
* Professional witness service
Starter tenancies Yorkshire Housing operates a universal starter tenancy scheme whereby all new customers are signed up on Starter Tenancy agreements which is a key component of our strategy in tackling antisocial behaviour. Monitoring our service We collect data on antisocial behaviour to show we meet our performance targets; that we do not discriminate against anyone in any individual case; how satisfied customers are and where to improve our services; identify hotspots and specific problems; and to most effectively target our resources. Publicising our service We use publicity to encourage victims and witnesses to report problems; to raise awareness of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and to deter those causing problems to continue. Publicity will also be used to raise awareness that criminal behaviour is a tenancy breach and could result in a customer losing their home. Safeguarding All employees will consider whether there are any safeguarding implications for each case, and consider whether any children or an ‘at risk’ adult are facing the risk of harm or self neglect. If so, Section 1 of the Safeguarding System will be completed within 24 hours of receiving the information and the case allocated to a Designated Safeguarding Persons (DSP) who will ensure the necessary actions are taken. Equality and diversity implications This policy will be used in conjunction with Yorkshire Housing’s Equality & Fairness Strategy. Yorkshire Housing treats all customers under this policy fairly and equitably regardless of age, gender, race, colour, religious belief, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, culture, ability or lifestyle. Those experiencing and perpetrating antisocial behaviour can come from all sections of our communities. This policy highlights the importance of carrying out speedy and professional investigations in an impartial and objective attempt to establish the truth in order to take the appropriate action to prevent further harm. Officers are required to be aware of difficulties with language, reading or written communications, and to explore a wide range of evidence gathering techniques. The policy and its procedures contain measures to ensure the rights of vulnerable customers are safeguarded whether they are the problems or suffering from them. The Head of Customer Service Delivery is responsible for implementing this policy. A full copy of Yorkshire Housing’s Antisocial Behaviour Policy is available on request.
Domestic abuse policy
Domestic Abuse Policy Statement of intent This policy is intended to be comprehensive, clear and accessible. It outlines our general approach to addressing domestic abuse. However, we will consider each situation on its particular facts against the framework and guidance provided by our policy and procedure. We take domestic abuse seriously and are committed to providing a sensitive and confidential response to anyone approaching us for assistance. This Policy should be read in conjunction with:
* Antisocial Behaviour
* Safeguarding Adults
* Safeguarding Children
* Data Protection
* Joint to Sole Tenancy Policy
Background The Home Office definition of domestic abuse includes: ‘any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those age 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family-members, regardless of gender or sexuality.’ It includes forced marriage and so-called ‘honour violence’. Children are also affected by domestic abuse and this raises domestic abuse as a child protection issue. Scope The policy applies to all properties owned and/or managed by Yorkshire Housing (including SPACE properties). The policy will apply to Yorkshire Housing tenants and their household members. Yorkshire Housing has guidance relating to abuse suffered by, or perpetrated by members of staff. Partnership working We acknowledge that dealing with issues of domestic abuse requires a multi-agency approach and will endeavour to work with local agencies to ensure cases are dealt with in the most effective and efficient way. This may include referrals to multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARAC). ‘Make a Stand’ Pledge Yorkshire Housing supports the Chartered Institute of Housing’s ‘Make a Stand’ pledge which consists of four commitments to support people who live and work in housing who are experiencing domestic abuse. The four commitments are:
• To put in place and embed a policy to support residents who are experiencing domestic abuse
• To make information about national and local domestic abuse support services available on your website and in other places which are easily accessible to residents and staff
• To put in place a HR policy and procedure on domestic abuse, or to incorporate this into an existing policy, to support members of staff who are experiencing domestic abuse
• Appoint a champion in your organisation to own the activity you are doing to support people experiencing domestic abus
Reporting abuse Domestic abuse can be reported by victims or witnesses, including Yorkshire Housing staff, by any reasonable means and may be made in the first instance to the police, local authorities, refuge groups, voluntary organisations or friends and relatives. Recognising abuse All frontline staff receive domestic abuse awareness training so they are better able to recognise signs of abuse and will initiate the appropriate actions. At the heart of our approach is to deal with the victim as discreetly as possible, keeping all information confidential. We will explain clearly what the options are and what support measures are available without placing the victim at risk of retaliation. Support for victims and witnesses We will consider the safety of victims and witnesses, and where appropriate we will work with partners to provide additional safety measures. We will use the Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence (DASH) risk assessment protocol to ensure a consistent approach when offering support and when deciding if a referral to MARAC is required. Support for victims through legal action When appropriate, we will support victims to take their own legal action against the perpetrator, and consider using our own legal remedies to protect the victim and support the victim’s efforts to remain at home. The Housing Act 1996 allows housing associations to evict a perpetrator of domestic abuse, whether or not they are a joint or sole tenant of the property. For victims at immediate risk we will consider a range of options for emergency housing including referral to the local authority homeless persons unit or refuge. Data protection and confidentiality We recognise that cases of domestic abuse can be very sensitive. Information provided by the complainant will be handled as confidential at all times and only passed to external agencies with prior consent complying with the best practice guidance set out in Yorkshire Housing’s data protection policy and procedures. We reserve the right to make a referral to social services or to the police without the permission of the complainant or the alleged perpetrator, where the situation justifies it in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018. Safeguarding All employees will consider whether there are any safeguarding implications for each case, and consider whether any children or vulnerable adults are at risk of harm or self neglect. If so, Section 1 of the Safeguarding System will be completed within 24 hours of receiving the information and the case allocated to a Designated Safeguarding Persons (DSP) who will ensure the necessary actions are taken. Monitoring our service We will collect data on domestic abuse cases to show the scale and extent of these issues as they affect our customers; we will monitor whether we respond to these reports within the required timescales and within procedures; and we will seek to monitor levels of awareness about the signs of domestic abuse amongst our staff. Equality and diversity implications This policy will be used in conjunction with Yorkshire Housing’s Equality & Fairness Strategy. Yorkshire Housing treats all customers under this policy fairly and equitably regardless of age, gender, race, colour, religious belief, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, culture, ability or lifestyle. Yorkshire Housing recognises that whilst domestic abuse is usually inflicted by men on women and/or children or other family members that such abuse can also occur in heterosexual relationships where the man is the victim. In addition, it is also recognised that abuse can take place in lesbian and gay relationships. The Head of Neighbourhood Services is responsible for implementing this policy. A full copy of Yorkshire Housing’s Domestic Abuse Policy is available on request.
* Yorkshire Housing website
* Social media
* Local press and media stories
Data protection and confidentiality We comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 that sets out requirements for ensuring data about individuals is properly protected, and only shared in a lawful way. Any information shared:
* will be necessary, relevant and not excessive
* will be shared fairly and transparently
* will be accurate and up-to-date
* won’t be kept any longer than is necessary
* will be kept secure
Staff will at all times be vigilant to ensure that they maintain confidentiality, and do not give details of cases they are involved in or aware of to any person inappropriately. We will be sensitive to the effect that disclosure of identity to a perpetrator or any other party could have on a complainant. We will only disclose the complainant’s identity to the perpetrator and any other parties including doctors and teachers with their explicit and recorded permission. Equality and diversity implications This policy will be used in conjunction with Yorkshire Housing’s Equality & Fairness Strategy. Yorkshire Housing treats all customers under this policy fairly and equitably regardless of age, gender, race, colour, religious belief, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, culture, ability or lifestyle. Yorkshire Housing will widely publicise, in appropriate languages its policy and procedure relating to all forms of harassment and will ensure that where requested, interpretation and translation services are made available to victims of racial harassment. The Head of Neighbourhood Services is responsible for implementing this policy. A full copy of Yorkshire Housing’s Harassment Policy is available on request.
Every day matters to the victim – our antisocial behaviour strategy
Our values are respect, reliability and enthusiasm. Through this strategy we seek to build respect in our communities through a reliable and professional workforce so together we can challenge and stop damaging behaviour as quickly as possible. Yorkshire Housing is committed to stopping antisocial behaviour in a responsive and robust manner. We know that antisocial behaviour harms the quality of peoples’ lives which is why we work hard with our customers and partner agencies to challenge, prevent and stop it. Antisocial behaviour includes a range of behaviours and has many causes. We use a four-point approach:
- supporting victim
- prompt challenges
- legal action
What is antisocial behaviour?
Antisocial behaviour covers a wide range of behaviours from dropping litter, graffiti, dog barking, very loud music, late night noise, drug dealing, property damage, threats, and even violence. Antisocial behaviour includes all of these behaviours when motivated by hate or prejudice, including racial harassment and other hate crimes. Criminal behaviour is antisocial too. We recognise how harmful this behaviour can be for our customers which is why every aspect of the antisocial behaviour service is focused on stopping or preventing it as quickly as possible. The Antisocial Behaviour Strategy underpins our corporate priorities in ‘supporting our customers and their communities’.
What we are seeking to achieve
- Peaceful and respectful behaviour in each neighbourhood
- Easily available help, advice and support to victims
- Swift legal action to protect victims and their property
- Victims feeling able to report problems without fear or intimidation
- A service shaped by our customers’ experiences
- Problems being ‘nipped in the bud’
Our priorities over the next three years
We mean what we say with our slogan ‘every day matters to the victim’. Here are some of the measures we are implementing and some targets we have set ourselves leading up to 2018:
- Achieve 82 per cent approval rating of our service from our customers by the end 2018
- Establish a training programme to ensure staff deliver a quick and professional response to all reported problems
- Have in place a Victim and Witness Support Programme delivering practical support and reassurance to victims in their homes
- Publish a Witness Charter guaranteeing minimum levels of support for any customer giving evidence in court
- Improve our web site and publicity material, telling more people what can be done to stop and deter problems, and letting those causing problems know they could lose their homes
- Explore more ways we can provide ‘out of hours’ support and assistance to victims when our offices are shut
- Achieve external national accreditation confirming we are delivering an excellent service to our customers
Promoting respectful behaviour
We already take antisocial behaviour very seriously and currently invest considerable resources tackling it.
- We spend over £100,000 each year on legal actions, mediation and gathering evidence
- We ensure victims are regularly contacted by phone, letter or visits keeping them informed on what’s happening in their case
- We publicise our actions on our web site, on social media and in newsletters to encourage victims not to suffer alone, but to get in touch
- We use our tenancy agreement, face-to-face interviews and formal warnings to challenge those causing problems, and to make them stop
- We monitor our actions to make sure we act promptly and fairly in every case.
Preventing problems from escalating
The best way of tackling antisocial behaviour is to prevent it happening in the first place, or to ‘nip it in the bud’ as quickly as possible. We spend a lot of our time doing this:
- Checking all new applicants for any history of crime or antisocial behaviour
- Signing new customers on probationary ‘starter tenancies’
- Our tenancy agreement sets out clearly what is and is not acceptable behaviour
- Reinforcing this message with face to face interviews, Good Neighbour Agreements, family support services
- Reducing problems with improved lighting, landscaping, additional fencing, signs and organised play schemes for young people
- Consulting customers and developing Neighbourhood Plans to tackle ‘hot spots’ or recurring problems
- Using professional mediators on many of our cases to resolve disputes at an early stage
Action against antisocial behaviour awards
Each year we give awards to customers who demonstrate special courage and bravery in standing up to antisocial behaviour. We know we cannot succeed without their help and support. This year the overall award went to Milena. Milena was physically and verbally attacked by a neighbour when she stopped his grandchildren vandalising bushes. The neighbour punched and kicked Milena while shouting threats and abuse. Despite this terrifying ordeal she reported the attack to the police and to us, helping us secure injunctions and powers of arrest within 24 hours. Milena won this prize not just because she is a brave woman but because she refused to be silenced when she saw wrong, and because she did not turn away when she saw others damaging property and plants that belonged to the whole community.
How will we know if our strategy is working and making a difference to victims?
- Currently 56 per cent of customers believe our service is good or excellent. By 2018 we aim for 82 per cent of customers to give this feedback
- On average we resolve problems within 65 days. We aim to keep this average figure below 74 days throughout the next 3 years
- We publicise our actions so victims can compare their experience with others
- We report on progress each year to the Customer Services Committee and publicise this to customers on our website.
Yorkshire Housing witness charter
Report antisocial behaviour
If you or your neighbours are suffering from any of the issues described – we want to know. Report antisocial behaviour online or call 0345 366 4404.
See our frequently asked questions for some real life examples of what people have been through and some common questions with possible solutions.
Find out more
Read some of our antisocial behaviour success stories.