Anti-social behaviour (ASB) and hate crimes/incidents

viridianhousing.org.uk

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) and hate crimes ... - Viridian Housing

Anti-social

behaviour

(ASB) and hate

crimes/incidents

viridianhousing.org.uk

1


This leaflet tells

you what to do if

you experience

anti-social

behaviour or hate

crimes/incidents.

2

THIS LEAFLET DOES NOT FORM PART OF YOUR

TENANCY TERMS AND CONDITIONS


Anti-social

behaviour (ASB)

and hate crimes/

incidents

We know anti-social behaviour can cause real misery for residents,

their families and communities. As your landlord, we will take all

reports of anti-social behaviour seriously and deal efficiently and

effectively with those responsible.

What is anti-social behaviour?

There are many different definitions of anti-social behaviour. The

definition we use is taken from the Crime and Disorder Act (1998)

which defines anti-social behaviour as acting in a manner:

‘That caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to

one or more persons not of the same household as the complaint’

Anti-social behaviour can vary in severity and can take many forms

including:

• Domestic violence

• Hate related incidents (such as harassment based on race or

sexual orientation)

• Verbal abuse/intimidation/harassment

• Physical violence

• Criminal activity

• Drug dealing/alcohol related problems

• Vandalism of property

• Noise

• Nuisance from animals/vehicles

• Fly tipping/litter problems misuse of communal areas

• Prostitution

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What is not anti-social behaviour?

We do not usually consider everyday living noises to be anti-social

behaviour. Such noises include:

• Noise from toilet use

• Noise from people walking in adjoining properties

• Noise from conversations in adjoining properties

• Children playing during daytime hours

• Noise from washing laundry or dishes in adjoining properties

• Noise from closing doors or cupboards

What is a hate crime/incident?

A hate crime/incident is any crime, incident or series of incidents

intended or likely to intimidate, offend or harm an individual or

group because of their ethnic origin, colour, race, religion, nationality,

sexuality, gender, disability or age.

The law states “any incident which is perceived to be a hate crime

by the victim or any other person”. This means that if you witness an

incident and believe it to be a hate crime, we will investigate it as

one even if you’re not directly affected.

How do you decide when a hate crime/ incident has

occurred?

If the victim or any other person thinks an incident is hate based,

we will deal with it through our hate crimes/incidents policy and

procedure.

How quickly will my report of a hate crime incident

be dealt with?

We condemn all forms of hate crimes/incidents and will respond to

all reports within 24 hours.

What assistance can you give me?

If you feel you have been the victim of anti-social behaviour or a

hate crime/incident, we can offer:

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Advice: Every case is different so we will tell you the options

available to you and work with you to stop the problems.

Confidentiality: We will not give information you tell us to anyone

else without your permission. However, we may do so if we believe

passing on the information is likely to prevent loss of life, serious injury

or risk to health; it may prevent or assist with detecting a crime or

where we have a legal obligation to provide the information

Support: We can offer you help and support and also put you in

touch with other specialist support groups

Action: There are a range of actions we can take against the

person or group causing the anti-social behaviour

When can you get involved?

We can become involved when:

• One of our residents is suffering anti-social behaviour

• One of our residents is causing anti-social behaviour

• A resident or visitor (including children) to one of our properties is

causing anti-social behaviour

Tenancy agreement

Our tenancy agreement makes it clear that residents are

responsible for making sure that they or their visitors do not cause

anti-social behaviour whilst at the home address or in the local

area. The tenancy agreement provides a clear contract with each

resident that can be enforced through court action if necessary.

I’m suffering from anti-social behaviour, what should

I do?

If you know who is causing the problem and feel safe to do so, try to

talk to them, as this can often resolve neighbour disputes at an early

stage. If you would like some guidance on how to discuss a problem

with a neighbour please contact us.

If you have already tried or do not feel safe talking to them or do

not know who is causing the problem you should report it to us.

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What happens when I report the problem?

We will ask you questions to help us get a clear idea of the problem.

We deal with the most serious issues first, so it is important to give us

as much detail as possible. You should always contact the Police first

if you have been harassed, threatened with violence, assaulted or if

another crime has been committed.

When you first report anti-social behaviour, we will create a case

on our anti-social behaviour database for investigation. Each case

is given a unique case number that you should refer to if you need

to contact us. The case will be given a priority category of 1, 2 or 3,

depending upon the seriousness of the incident reported, and this

will determine how quickly you can expect a response from us. The

following table gives examples of each priority category.

Priority category

Priority 1

Priority 2

Priority 3

Example of

cases with this

priority

All hate crimes and

domestic violence

cases, harassment

cases where there is

actual or threatened

violence

Intimidation/

harassment

(including verbal

abuse), sustained

statutory noise

nuisance, serious

nuisance cases such

as drug dealing

Complaints of pet

nuisance/ untidy

gardens/noise

nuisance/ neighbour

disputes

Response time

Within one working

day of initial report

Within three working

days of the initial

report

Within five working

days of the initial

report

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Your housing or anti-social behaviour officer (referred to as ‘the

officer’ in this leaflet) will then investigate the anti-social behaviour

you have reported. This could mean calling you back and talking

through the situation or with more serious problems, arranging to

meet with you. You can bring a friend or relative with you if you want

to and we can arrange an interpreter if you need one.

The officer will find out as much as possible about the anti-social

behaviour. They will ask you about what has happened recently

and whether it has happened in the past. If you can remember

dates and times, this is very useful. Without this information it can be

more difficult for us to act.

Questions we may ask are:

• What is the problem?

• Who is affected by it?

• How are they affected?

• Where, why and when does it happen?

• Have you told any other organisations such as the Police?

• Who else has seen it happen?

• What would you like us to do to help you resolve the problem?

Our employees are trained to be supportive, understanding and

remain impartial until there is clear and strong evidence to take

action.

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What else will the officer do?

The officer will agree with you an action plan of what will happen

next. We will confirm this plan in writing to you.

The plan could include us:

• Contacting other witnesses

• Interviewing the person who we think is causing the anti-social

behaviour

• Contacting other organisations such as the Police or the local

authority noise team

• Taking legal action immediately where this is appropriate. This

will only happen in extremely serious cases where there is strong

evidence to support such action

• Taking other non-legal steps to stop the anti-social behaviour such

as acceptable behaviour contracts

Alternatively, the plan could include you:

• Agreeing to take part in mediation. Mediation is an independent

service that aims to sort out disagreements between people

• Being asked to fill in diary sheets when the anti-social behaviour

happens. This is very important in collecting evidence of what is

happening

• Arranging for support for either yourself or the person reported as

causing the problems

The action plan will also detail how you can get in touch with your

officer and when they will give you an update of progress or to see

how things are with you.

If you do not want us to contact anyone who could be a witness

or speak to the person causing the anti-social behaviour, we will

respect your decision. This will limit the action we can take to stop

the anti-social behaviour that is affecting you.

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What can you do to stop anti-social behaviour?

We tackle anti-social behaviour in many different ways. We will try

to work with you and other organisations to solve the problem. In

most cases, we will seek to solve the problems whilst you remain in

your existing home. Sometimes we may need to take legal action,

although this is usually a last resort as we try to stop the anti-social

behaviour without the need for legal proceedings.

After your officer has investigated your report, they will contact

you to discuss options for further action. The options available will

depend on the type of anti-social behaviour, how serious it is and

how much evidence there is. The aim is for us to agree with you

what we can do next.

Here are some of the things we can do to tackle antisocial

behaviour.

1.Talking

Your officer can talk through the problem with the people involved.

Often, telling the resident that someone has complained and

warning them about what might happen if the problem continues,

is enough to calm the situation down.

Your officer will not take sides when they look into allegations of antisocial

behaviour. They will always listen to all the people involved in

the situation before coming to a conclusion.

2.Mediation

We can use mediation to solve a wide range of disagreements with

your neighbours. Mediation does not focus on who is right or wrong,

but gets everyone involved to agree a solution together. We can

use it to solve fairly simple disagreements with your neighbours or

even quite serious harassment if both sides are willing to take part.

For more information on mediation, please contact us.

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3.Acceptable behaviour contracts (ABC)

These are used when we get the people causing the problems,

often children and their families, to recognise the problem and sign

an agreement about how they will behave in the future.

4.Neighbourhood agreements

This is a voluntary agreement or code of behaviour that residents on

estates or in a block of flats agree to and sign. We can draw up the

agreement when we open a new scheme or as a result of ongoing

anti-social behaviour. For it to work we need to consult with all the

residents and the majority have to agree some ground rules to stick

to.

What about legal action?

The type of legal action we take depends on the severity of

the anti-social behaviour that has occurred. We will usually start

possession action when other legal action already started has not

stopped the anti-social behaviour. Below are the main types of legal

action we can take:

1.Injunctions

An injunction is a court order that prevents someone from doing

something, or makes someone do something. An Injunction can also

exclude someone from a property or an area. We can apply for an

injunction at court.

Injunctions set a clear standard of behaviour for the person causing

the nuisance and protect others straight away. They can stop the

person causing nuisance or annoyance or entering certain buildings

or areas, and sometimes can include a power of arrest. Breach of

an injunction can either carry a heavy fine or a prison sentence.

4.Anti-social behaviour orders

Along with the Police and local authorities, we can apply for antisocial

behaviour orders (ASBOs). Local agencies such as the Police,

education, social services and housing associations can work

together to provide evidence of anti-social behaviour and apply for

a court order. The court can make an anti-social behaviour order

against anyone aged over ten. The ASBO could order someone to

keep out of a neighbourhood. If they did not do this, they could be

arrested and imprisoned up to a maximum of five years.

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5.Demoted tenancies

We can apply to court for an order to ‘demote’ a tenancy if the

resident has caused anti-social behaviour. This means that the

person’s tenancy will become an assured shorthold tenancy for a

period of 12 months. This gives the resident fewer rights and means

that if they continue to cause anti-social behaviour we could seek

possession of the property without the need to go back to court, just

by serving the relevant documents.

6.Possession proceedings

This is when we go to the County Court to try and evict the resident

who is causing the problem from our property. If we take a case

to court, we have to have clear, detailed written evidence about

the anti-social behaviour. People who witnessed the nuisance

have to sign statements and answer questions in court about their

evidence. The judge would decide what order to grant us based

on the evidence heard. There are two main things the judge has to

consider:

• Are they satisfied the nuisance took place?

• Is it reasonable to grant an order?

If both of these factors are satisfied a judge can grant the following:

Outright possession order (OPO)

An outright order grants possession to the landlord after a

specified period. This is usually 28 days but can be quicker if the

cause is serious.

Postponed possession order (PPO)

A postponed possession order allows the tenant to stay in their

house as long as they stick to certain terms and do not cause any

further anti-social behaviour.

Suspended possession order (SPO)

Possession is granted by the court but the eviction is suspended for

a fixed period. Should any further incidents take place in this period

an eviction warrant can be applied for.

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What if I don’t agree with what the officer suggests?

Your officer will explain what we have decided to do and why.

We have to look at all complaints of anti-social behaviour without

taking sides. For example, you may feel that we should take legal

action straight away, but we have to look at what evidence there is,

decide if legal action is appropriate and look at what chance there

is of the case being successful.

If we do need to take legal action, the courts often view cases

more favourably when we can show we have tried to solve the

problem in other ways first. Of course, we will need to take legal

action immediately in some cases, but these are rare.

If you still do not agree with how we are dealing with your problem,

you may be able to make a complaint using our complaints

process. You can also get independent legal advice.

Who else can I contact about anti-social behaviour?

Under the Environmental Protection Act, local authority

environmental health sections can take action about problems like

dumping rubbish, sewage and animal smells, with the most common

problem they get involved with being noise. They can warn people

and serve abatement orders on them to try and stop them causing

a nuisance. Abatement orders are legal orders to stop someone

from doing something. We can use this as evidence if we decide

to take legal action. You can also take legal action yourself. For

more information about this, please contact your local council’s

environmental health department.

Under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Police can

prosecute people. For more details about this, please contact your

local Police station. In serious cases of anti-social behaviour, you

should always contact the Police first.

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When will my anti-social behaviour case be closed?

When the anti-social behaviour has stopped, we will discuss closing

your case with you. After we have closed your case, we will ask you

to complete a satisfaction survey to get your views on how we dealt

with the problem. We use the results of this survey to assess overall

satisfaction with our anti-social behaviour service and identify ways

it can be improved.

In addition, there are certain other situations where we will close an

anti-social behaviour case. These are:

• Where we have found no evidence of anti-social behaviour

• When a person wants no further action taken

• Where a person has not helped as agreed, making it impossible to

take further action

Help and advice

If you have any questions, need help understanding this information

or want it in another format for example, in large print or on audio

tape, please contact your local or regional office. Our anti-social

behaviour policy and procedure are available to all residents, if you

would like a copy please contact us. Full details can be found in our

‘How to contact us’ leaflet or on our website viridianhousing.org.uk

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Arabic

تعلمك هذه الكراسة ما يلزم أن تقوم بعمله إذا آنت تعاني من السلوك المنافي للعرف الاجتماعي أو من أحداث/‏ جرائم تتعلق

بالكراهية.‏ إذا أردت نسخة من هذه الكراسة بلغتك الخاصة،‏ يرجى الاتصال بمكتبك المحلي أو الإقليمي.‏

Pashto

دا معلوماتپاڼه وايي چې که له ټولنيز ضد چلند يا د کرکې يا جنايي پېښو سره مخامخ شئ،‏ څه بايد وکړئ.‏ که

غواړئ چې د دغې معلوماتپاڼې يو نقل يې پر خپله ژبه تر لاسه کړئ ل ط ف اً‏ له خپل ځايي يا سيمه ييز دفتر

سره تماس ونيسئ

.

Polish

Niniejsza ulotka zawiera informacje na temat sposobu postępowania w przypadku, gdy

zetkną się Państwo z przejawami zachowania antyspołecznego lub incydentów/przestępstw

na tle nienawiści. Jeżeli chcieliby Państwo otrzymać tą ulotkę w języku polskim, prosimy o

kontakt z lokalnym lub regionalnym biurem.

Russian

В данной листовке рассказывается, что делать, если вы сталкиваетесь с

антиобщественным поведением или случаями преступной нетерпимости. Если вы

хотите получить копию этой листовки на вашем родном языке, обратитесь в местную

или региональную администрацию.

Somali

Waxuu buugyarahani kuu sheegayaa waxa aad samayn karto haddii aad la kulanto akhlaaq

bulshada u daran (anti-social behaviour) ama dembiyo/dhacdooyin neceyb ah. Haddii aad

rabto in aad buugyarahan ka hesho nuqul ku qoran luqaddaada gaarka ah fadlan la xiriir

xafiiska xaafaddaada ama gobolka.

Spanish

Este folleto le indica qué hacer si usted es víctima de comportamiento antisocial o delitos o

incidentes debidos al odio. Si usted desea recibir un ejemplar de este formulario en su

propio idioma, sírvase comunicarse con su oficina local o regionaI.

Turkish

Bu yaprakçk anti-sosyal davranş ya da nefret suçlar/olaylar ile karşlaşmanz durumunda

neler yapmanz gerektiğini anlatmaktadr. Eğer bu yaprakçğn kendi dilinizde olan bir

kopyasn arzu ediyorsanz, lütfen yerel ya da bölge ofisiniz ile temasa geçiniz.

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This information has been checked by residents April 2010

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