Tackling anti-social behaviour and supporting victims

by The Gateshead Housing Company & filed under Help in your home - neighbour nuisance.

If you are experiencing anti-social behaviour we want to help to resolve this as soon as possible.

What is anti-social behaviour?

ASB covers a wide range of activity that impacts on other people and causes harassment, alarm and distress.

This behaviour can include but is not limited to: noise, harassment, animal nuisance, domestic abuse, hate crime, or dumping litter or rubbish.

Some of these are crimes as well and should be reported to the police on 101.

What is not anti-social behaviour?

Behaviour that annoys one person may not annoy someone else.

In each individual case we will consider whether incidents are anti-social.

Generally we won’t take action for complaints about:

  • Noise from washing machines, vacuum cleaners or toilet use
  • Persons walking in adjoining properties
  • Cooking smells
  • One-off events e.g. barbeques, family parties
  • Cats fouling
  • Babies crying
  • Young people playing.

What can I do if I’m having problems with my neighbour?

Nuisance problems can affect different people in different ways.

Issues with nuisance from neighbours can often be resolved quickly and easily without making matters worse.

Our advice in the first instance would be to:

  • Be tolerant and consider whether the problems are being caused by deliberate actions
  • Speak to your neighbour – talking to each other and explaining issues such as DIY works or parties that will cause audible noise can prevent complaints and disputes between neighbours.

If you feel comfortable, you could approach your neighbour to discuss the problems and speak to them in a calm and reasonable way.

In certain cases we can also offer independent mediation to help provide a solution to the problems.

If you feel unable to talk to your neighbour, then report the problem as quickly as possible to your estate officer at your housing office.

To help us to help you, we will need to know:

  • What happened: give a description of the incident
  • Where it happened: was it at a specific address or can you describe the location?
  • When it happened: what time was it and on what date?
  • Who was responsible: do you know their name and address? If not, can you describe them?
  • Why it happened: was it directly targeted at you or is it a problem that affects the whole community?
  • How did it affect you?

Your role in tackling ASB

Everyone can play a major role in reducing ASB in your area.

If you are experiencing or have witnessed ASB within your home or community it is important you tell us about this at the earliest opportunity (see How do I report antisocial behaviour).

Without this information we may not be able to investigate or take action to resolve the problems.

If an incident appears to be criminal activity or requires an immediate response, it is important that you report it to the police or other relevant agency at the time it is happening.

What will we do?

We aim to:

  • Where possible prevent ASB from occurring
  • Tackle the causes of ASB and deal with the consequences
  • Support victims and witnesses
  • Take action against perpetrators
  • Work with other agencies to achieve long-term results.

We may ask you to:

  • Provide details of the people involved in the incidents
  • Complete diary sheets where the issue is ongoing
  • Provide a witness statement
  • Attend court if necessary.

You will be provided with a named officer who will listen to you, offer regular contact and provide advice and support during our investigation.

Your investigating officer will agree what actions can be taken to resolve your case.

We will update you regularly on progress and any actions taken.

We will advise you if we are able to take action to help you and, if so, what we hope to do.

If you are unwilling to make a statement the options may be limited, but we will explain this to you.

We will aim to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible.

To help us gather evidence of the problems we may use noise-recording equipment or act as professional witnesses by spending time in your home or the locality.

If we obtain supporting evidence then a number of legal actions can be considered to tackle the problems.

More information at: Managing tenancies and tackling antisocial behaviour – the services you can expect

Support for victims

Understanding the impact on the victim is important to us. Our aim is to reduce any risk or impact on the victim where possible.

This could involve joint work and referrals for support from other agencies, contacting advocacy services, and providing more frequent contact from investigating officers.

In some circumstances additional security measures could be offered to victims to make them safer in their home e.g. installing new locks.

We will provide support during and after any court appearance through briefing witnesses on what to expect, meeting with legal representatives, visiting court in advance of the hearing, being present with witnesses throughout the hearing, providing transport to and from the court and (if necessary) arranging a secure space where witnesses can wait where they will not come into contact with perpetrators.

How do I report anti-social behaviour?

Contact your estate officer at your housing office, or:

  • Online: Using our confidential reporting form.
  • Phone: 0191 433 5327, 8.45am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday; 8.45am to 3.45pm Wednesday; 8.45am to 4.30pm Friday
  • Email: nrt@gateshead housing.co.uk

Can anyone else help?

If we are unable to help we will tell you why and, where possible, inform you of other agencies who may be able to help.

Criminal matters should be reported to the police, who may give us information to help resolve the issue.

You can also get advice from:

If you have reported anti-social behaviour three times or more within the last six months and you feel that no action has been taken, then you could call for a case review using the Community Trigger.

Please note this is not a complaints or reporting line. For further information please contact:

  • Tel: 0191 433 2279 (Quote ‘Community Trigger’)
  • Email: communitytrigger@gateshead.gov.uk
  • Post:
    Community Trigger,
    Community Safety
    Team, Civic Centre,
    Tyne & Wear, NE8 1HH.

Gateshead Council may also be able to help with certain problems – for example, stray dogs, noise and burning refuse. You can contact Gateshead Council on 0191 433 3000 for advice and information.

Download “Tackling anti-social behaviour” as a PDF leaflet.