Supporting victims and witnesses
Victims and witnesses are crucial in tackling instances of anti-social behaviour. That is why we ensure they are supported from when the behaviour is first reported.
What happens when I first report anti-social behaviour (ASB)?
All ASB complaints are recorded, and investigated where possible. We will take details of what is affecting you, the person(s) affecting you, and any other relevant information or supporting evidence that may be required, including the dates and times of incidents, what happened, who was involved, and how it made you feel.
Sometimes an investigation is not possible, for example, where a complaint is made anonymously and there is not enough information to enable an investigation to take place. We know that there are some cases when someone suffering from ASB might be frightened to reveal their identity, but we encourage people suffering from ASB to come forward in person, so that they can provide us with as much detail as possible so that we can investigate their concerns.
Following you reporting ASB to us, a case will be logged on our system for a dedicated community safety officer to contact you within the following timescales, depending on what type of ASB you report:
One working day
Five working days
Violence or threats of violence
Alcohol related ASB
ASB in communal areas
Nuisance caused by dogs
Acts of intimidation
Drug use, dealing or storage/cultivation
Your community safety officer
Your dedicated community safety officer will contact you and complete the following:
- Introduce themselves and explain their role.
- Obtain further details regarding the issues affecting you.
- Obtain details of others who have witnessed the ASB who we may need to speak to.
- Ask questions to enable them to make an initial assessment of the risk and vulnerability of you and your household or others affected by the ASB.
- Consider whether any support referrals are required for you.
- Discuss evidence gathering and provide you with diary sheets and/or agree other methods of recording further incidents, such as audio equipment (The Noise App), photographs, video recordings of incidents, etc.
- Provide The Noise App information, if necessary.
- Consider any safeguarding concerns for the person causing the ASB or their household.
- Discuss liaising with other agencies where appropriate, such as the Police if there have been calls for service, Police warrants executed or reports of criminality.
- Discuss possible early intervention measures to resolve matters quickly, such as visiting the person causing the ASB to discuss allegations of tenancy breaches, issue tenancy warnings, make referrals to mediation.
- Seek your consent to visit the person causing the ASB. Your identity will not be disclosed, unless you have given consent to do so. Please note that it may not be possible for us to not identify you if the specific ASB incident clearly identifies you.
- If the matter is urgent and there are serious risks of violence, or actual violence, your Community Safety Officer will consider whether an application for a without-notice injunction is appropriate.
- They will be clear on what action can and can’t be taken, to manage your expectations.
- Agree an action plan detailing the next steps in the case.
What will you do next?
The next steps will depend on the particular nature of the case and the action plan agreed with your community safety officer. The next steps may include, but are not limited to:
- Speaking to other witnesses.
- Contacting supporting agencies.
- Gathering further evidence.
- Reviewing our case management system to see if there have been previous complaints received to assess the history of the case, and whether any warning markers exist.
- Writing to the person causing the ASB to advise them of the allegations received and arranging to visit them to discuss matters. If you…
- Working with our partner agencies in a joint approach to tackling ASB, such as Police, Fire Service, Social Services, Drug and Alcohol Support services, and Mental Health Teams.
- Monitoring the case and keeping you updated as your case progresses.
- Considering non-legal tools and early intervention measures.
- Considering legal action to tackle ASB if it is reasonable and proportionate to do so.
Prevention, support and enforcement tools and powers
We aim to tackle what can often be diverse or complex issues around ASB using a range of tools including, prevention, support and enforcement, in a proportionate and flexible response to the challenges that ASB presents, including the following:
- Issuing written tenancy warnings
- Signposting perpetrators of ASB to support services, which may help to reduce or stop the ASB from repeating.
- Acceptable Behaviour Contracts. These are signed by the person causing ASB, who give a commitment to stop causing issues that are effecting others.
- Mediation. This is an effective way of resolving disputes by involving an independent and impartial third party – the mediators. It provides a safe, structured and positive environment for parties in dispute, and seeks to change behaviour, resolve conflict and prevent issues from resurfacing.
Please contact us for more information about mediation, or ask for a copy of our leaflet on ‘Mediation’.
- Injunction Order. This is an order that can be obtained from the County Court that can instruct someone not to do something, such as; not to play excessively loud music or not to threaten violence against anyone. If a person breaches an Injunction Order, an application can be made for Contempt, and the person could receive a custodial sentence, a fine or both. The Courts can in some cases, grant a Power of Arrest or an exclusion area as part of the order. They can also attach positive requirements, which order the person to do something, rather than not to do something, such as attending an alcohol support programme.
- Possession Order. An application can be made if the person causing the issues is a Progress tenant. Once a Possession Order is granted, this can in some cases, lead to the person(s) being evicted. However, the Courts view eviction as a last resort, and will expect the landlord to have tried, or considered, other measures before they will consider eviction as the most appropriate course of action. The Courts can in some cases, suspend a Possession Order on terms.
- Demotion Order. This is an alternative to possession proceedings, which can result in the tenant’s tenancy being ‘demoted’ from an Assured tenancy to an Assured Shorthold tenancy. This means that they have less security of tenure and rights for a fixed period.
We will also work in partnership with the police and local authorities, and if appropriate, we will ask them to consider the tools and powers that they have to tackle ASB, such as Closure Powers which can result in a premises associated with persistent ASB being closed to stop further ASB being committed. The police also have Dispersal Powers and Local Authorities can issue Community Protection Notices(CPNs), or delegate powers to social landlords to obtain CPNs.
If it is necessary to commence any legal action, and you are required to attend court to give evidence in any legal proceedings, you will be supported throughout this process by your community safety officer. We will clearly explain the legal process to you, arrange for your transport to and from the court if your attendance is required. We can also arrange for you to visit the court before any hearing so that you can see the layout of the court in advance.
Closing your ASB case
We will close your case when we have resolved the ASB issues affecting you.
If upon our investigations, the issues affecting you are not considered to be ASB or there is not enough evidence to enable us to take action, we may close your case. In these circumstances, we will clearly explain why action cannot be taken, or what evidence is required in order for us to progress your case to a satisfactory resolution.
We may also close your case if you have stopped reporting any further issues to us, as we need to know whether the ASB is still continuing in order for us to consider any relevant actions to resolve matters.
When we close your case, we will send you’re a customer satisfaction survey, as we value any feedback you give us in order to help improve our service. We usually send these surveys by text message, however, if you prefer us to send this in another way, your community safety officer will arrange this.