Anti social behaviour
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO)
Is a civil order introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to protect the public from anti social behaviour. Legally defined as acting in a manner causing or likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household. Anti social behaviour can include such things as abusive language, drunken behaviour in the streets, vandalism and joyriding.
An ASBO can be made against anyone 10 years or older, who has acted in an anti social manner and where an order is need to protect a person or persons from further anti social acts. It contains conditions prohibiting the offender from specified anti social acts and many also contain other prohibitions such as not entering defined areas. It remains in effect for a minimum of two years.
Breach of an ASBO is a criminal offence which is arrestable and maximum penalty could be five years in prison or £5,000 fine or both. Possession proceedings on tenancy are entirely separate from ASBOs although they may in some cases be pursued at the same time.
Community Trigger (resources asbhelp)
You may feel like you have nowhere to turn for help. If you have reported the anti social behaviour and feel nobody seems to be listening or doing anything to sort it out you can implement what is known as the Community Trigger (or ASB Case Review) through your Local Authority. If the incident has been reported by you or others three times or more within a six month period and not received a satisfactory response, you can activate the Community Trigger. This gives you the right to demand that agencies deal with persistent anti-social behaviour. This will activate a multi-agency case review in an attempt to ultimately fix the problem and stop the anti social behaviour. For further information on the Community Trigger visit asbhelp listed on this page.
Everyone should have a right to live in peace and feel safe in their own home. When neighbours don't get on it can cause immense anxiety and in some cases fear. Sometimes we need to try and work with others, be tolerant of others and do our very best to live in harmony with others. Where any ill feeling or dispute arises it is best to try and deal with this at the time rather than allow bad feeling to fester. If a dispute does arise:
- Try and talk to your neighbour calmly and amicably. If you feel unable to do this think about writing a clear, concise, rational letter explaining your point of view.
- Try and also see things from your neighbour's point of view.
- Try and reach a compromise with your neighbour.
- If you cannot sort things out think about bringing in a mediator who can look at both sides of the argument and come to some fair decision which can be agreed by you both.
- If you are plagued by noisy neighbours contact Environmental Health, Noise Control Section.
- With any kind of nuisance, harassment etc. keep a diary of all incidents, dates, times, what is happening, any witnesses to what is happening and any steps you have taken to sort things out.
- If your neighbour is a tenant you can find out who the landlord is and complain to that person. If it is Council property you can contact the Council
- Where a criminal offence is being committed - criminal damage, stalking, harassment, threats etc. contact your local Police Community Safety Unit.
- Think about videoing evidence and if you can afford it installing a camera if you think this will help to gather evidence.
Agencies and websites which provide advice, information, support
ASB Help provides information, advice and signposting to appropriate agencies. Are you suffering with noisy neighbours? Are people making your life a nightmare thanks to their behaviour? Are you unsure where to turn? Or have you reported it and no-one seems to be listening?
Information from the government on anti social behaviour
Can help find a solicitor in your area
Advice on reporting harassment, threats, impersonation, bullying, unwanted sexual advances, pornographic content etc.
www.weareadvocate.org.uk - Charity which finds free legal help from barristers
www.venables.co.uk - Free legal advice online
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