What is and is not Anti-Social Behaviour?
Anti-Social Behaviour is an almost inevitable consequence when the lifestyles of people living near to each other clash. This can happen when, for example, different age groups, household sizes/family composition, cultural backgrounds, and working/sleeping patterns give rise to arguments.
Everyone has a different idea about what antisocial behaviour means. The term 'antisocial behaviour' covers any kind of nuisance, unreasonable behaviour or harassment. It can also include more serious criminal behaviour or activity.
The Anti-Social Behaviour, etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 provides the legal definition of antisocial behaviour as:-
"A person engages in antisocial behaviour if they act in a manner that causes or is likely to cause alarm and distress or pursues a course of conduct which causes or is likely to cause alarm and distress to at least one person who is not of the same household. (Course of conduct must involve conduct on at least two occasions)."
Antisocial behaviour may include, but is not limited to the following:* Noise disturbances (Such as loud music, noisy parties, shouting etc.)
· * Verbal and Physical Abuse
· * Harassment
· * Racial Harassment
· * Violence or threats of violence
· * Verbal abuse
· * Vandalism and graffiti
· * Drug dealing
· * Damage to property
· * Trespass
· * Nuisance from dogs
· * Joy riding
· * Domestic Violence
· * House breaking
It should be noted that many of the above are crimes and incidents of violence.
Suspected drug dealing, racial harassment etc. should always be reported to the Police in the first instance.
What is not Anti-Social Behaviour?
As antisocial behaviour can be difficult to define and although annoying there are some types of behaviour that are not classed as antisocial and may not be investigated by our officers.
* Children playing in the street or communal areas - unless they are causing damage to property
* Young people gathering socially - unless they are swearing and being intimidating to individuals.
* Being unable to park outside your own home
* DIY and car repairs - unless these are taking place late at night or early in the morning
* Civil disputes between neighbours e.g. fence boundaries.
What is Harassment?
Harassment exists when one party acts to adversely affect the peace or comfort of, or cause offence to, another party (the victim). It is different from anti-social behaviour (as described above) in that harassment is usually deliberate and directed at one person/household, although the distinction can be confused and the terms used interchangeably. Often the harassment will be on at least one of the following grounds:
· sexual orientation
· political beliefs
Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.
It is impossible to provide an absolute definition of the types of action that may constitute harassment, but the following list provides examples.
* The use of slogans (in written or spoken form) that cause offence on the type of grounds highlighted above.
· * Violence or threats of violence (whether empty or not)
· * Berating the victim to others on the basis of any of the grounds shown above
· * Any action that makes the victim feels ill at ease or harassed
For the absence of doubt, the Association’s initial assumption will be that the harassment exists if the victim perceives this to be the case. All allegations of harassment will be taken very seriously by the Association.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
In May 2014 the Association, along with it’s partners, reviewed and approved it’s joint Policy on tackling anti-social behaviour. This Policy was originally launched across West Dunbartonshire during 2010.
The Policy was approved by representatives from West Dunbartonshire Council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Task Force (ASIST) and 9 local Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) including ourselves.
The partners are:
• West Dunbartonshire Council
• Bellsmyre Housing Association
• Clydebank Housing Association
• Cordale Housing Association
• Cube Housing Association
• Dalmuir Park Housing Association
• Dunbritton Housing Association
• Knowes Housing Association
• Trafalgar Housing Association
Strathclyde Police, another major partner in tackling anti-social behaviour, is similarly committed to supporting us and the other joint policy partners through the sharing of information and in other ongoing joint initiatives.
The joint policy ensures that all complaints in the West Dunbartonshire area are investigated following a standard approach, regardless of whether the complainant is a Council tenant, a housing association tenant, tenant of a private landlord or a homeowner.
As a guide, anti-social behaviour is considered as falling into three types:
The Association will deal with any issues of anti-social behaviour when they are reported and discuss with the reporter the best way forward to a resolution.
Various methods are used with regards to action that can be taken:
Strathclyde Police: 0141-532-3300
Strathclyde Police, Crime-Stoppers: 0800-555-111
West Dunbartonshire Council: 01389-737000
Anti-Social Investigation Team (ASIST): 01389-772048