Tag Archives: sleep

Let’s Talk

The kids continue to run until way after 11 at night.  Since they moved in my daughter struggles to fall asleep and wakes up scared when the loud “bangs” sound so late.”  ‘Sam’

Anti-social behaviour takes so many different forms.  We all have different levels of tolerance to it – since it is defined as causing harassment, alarm or distress, we will all define different behaviour as anti-social.

This case study shows a situation where a 2 year old girl is experiencing alarm and distress which in turn is distressing to her parents.  However, it strikes us that it is also a clear situation where mediation needs to be the way forward to solve the problem.  Finding a way to talk through the issues is key.

The neighbour in the flat above has two children who run up and down the house “all day long”.  Sam feels he is already making compromises by sacrificing his daughter’s nap, knowing he can’t expect them to be quiet in the middle of the day, but after 9pm the noise becomes a problem.

He says he has spoken to them repeatedly as well as leaving a polite note.  His daughter “struggles to fall asleep and wakes up scared when the loud ‘bangs’ sound so late“.

Meanwhile, the neighbours accuse Sam of being intolerant, saying: “they complain too much and should move to a country house if they need their daughter to sleep“.

Let’s Talk

We recently looked at the value of considering mediation in situations of anti-social behaviour.   Mediation brings the two parties that are in conflict together with an independent person present to hear both sides of the story.

Everyone will have a different take on the situation when reading this story.  Many will empathise with Sam’s struggle to get his daughter to sleep and it is certainly concerning that she is waking alarmed with the noise.  Others will feel it is too intolerant and that noise is a natural result of living in a ground floor flat.

The fact of the matter is that both Sam and his neighbours live there, and want to enjoy their homes.  In situations like these the opportunity to talk together, with someone independent to help ensure both parties can fully explain their perspective, holds huge value.  Tension and frustration is damaging to our health but in a situation involving noise like this, that is unlikely to be classified as a statutory nuisance, there is very little available to agencies to resolve the situation.  This is a place for mediation to try and figure out how to live well together for the benefit of everyone.

Not Sure what to do

I am unsure how to deal with it as it will be there each time I get home. Anonymous of Wakefield

In spite of experiencing hammering all day and late at night, i.e. until 1am, hoovering at all times of the day until 1am, loud door slamming, both internal and external and done on purpose, this victim has not reported it. He heard from others in the area that it hadn’t achieved anything. Yet he is now officially depressed, lost a lot of weight, and has colitis. He is constantly on edge and not getting enough sleep.

“I am unsure how to deal with it as it will be there each time I get home.” He owns his home and sees moving as the only option. Yet the police would be quick to say no-one should have to move from their home because of anti-social behaviour.

ASB Help would say: we believe that until you try reporting it, you do not know what can be done. With new victim-focused legislation there are more options  available to agencies to tackle ASB and put victims first.

[Source: online survey]

Finally an Injunction then Breached …

My health has deteriorated, we cannot enjoy our home, do not invite friends or family to visit, nor am I able to do my job as effectively as I should because I am always tired. We no longer trust the authorities. ‘Claire’ of North London

“We are Council tenants and have suffered so much. Our neighbour makes late night noise, has threatened us, cut down our tree branches, damaged our property, left rubbish on our doorstep, fails to maintain her garden, and smokes dope which seeps into our flat. Fighting and shouting above our head, verbal abuse and false accusations have been going on for six years.”

‘Claire’ and her partner finally got evidence in the form of recordings of late night noise and, thanks to a hard working ASB officer at the Local Authority, got an injunction. But the Injunction was soon broken. “The court still does nothing to our neighbour who is very good at acting hard done by.”

“My health has deteriorated, we cannot enjoy our home, do not invite friends or family to visit, nor am I able to do my job as effectively as I should because I am always tired. We no longer trust the authorities.” Initially ‘Claire’ and her partner asked politely if the neighbour could stop making noise. They asked for mediation and she refused. They have spent 6 years recording diaries and reporting her behaviour yet their message to other victims is: Do not give up and try to get evidence.

[Source: online survey]