The effects of long-term ASB victimisation

Emma Robert

4 Comments

Janet Johnston Posted on7:31 pm - 19th November 2020

Hello there, My property/I have been the victim of long term anti-social behaviour for some ten years or so. I have reported to the local authority but have not triggered a community response in any given year as my neighbours activities seem to focus on the destruction of neighbouring hedges/garden plants/verges, and she has never previously acted out more than twice in one year , on the whole her behaviours are aggravating and attention seeking but sometimes, like in the middle of this pandemic her behaviour evokes a stronger response from her victims/me.
In 2016 a police complaint was made Stating Criminal Damages as all the neighbours hedgerows were poisoned (5), and it was apparent that the poisoning was executed from her property, she was not seen and the police took no action, as she was not witnessed.(I lost my entire front and rear hedge to this damages)
This year June 2020 the perpetrator climbed a stepladder at 10.30pm in the dark (having turned off her security lights) and pruned plants climbing up the boundary fence on my side. She was seen in the act, The Police investigated the event, which was identified as criminal damages in the complaint, the police ignored the photographic evidence submitted (which is indefensible), visited the perp and not the victims (myself and another neighbour)believed the story manufactured by the perpetrator. My Husband made a police complaint and has had a report confirming the investigation was not properly completed, and that we should receive an apology.
Whilst the police complaint was being investigated we identified to the police that the neighbours behaviour had escalated and we also provided a witness statement to the police (from another neighbour/our tenant who was a victim of hers who had moved in July 2020) identifying noise nuisance before 7am and after 11pm, and the repeated punctures of childrens’ bicycles (which were stored adjacent to the subsequently damage hedge).
The point of this message is to ask the following questions:
1.Is there help out there for victims of chronic abuse, do there have to be 3 events in a 6 month period?
3. So far this year the perpetrator has committed noise nuisance, damaged the hedge( as reported to the police), damaged another hedge, left a dead rat on top of the damaged hedge, deposited autumn leaves on neighbouring verges, poisoned her own verge (encroaching increasingly upon my verge 3 times with poison), Poisoned and damaged a protected hedgerow, Made a vexatious complaint to the local council (cannot prove this as the council keeps complaints annonymous).And currently has dismantled her fence leaving her materials (shade fabric) dropping into the neighbouring garden unnecessarily (aggravating behaviour)
4. The perpetrator showed the investigating police officer some letters which she claimed were ‘unwelcome’ and which the police officer confirmed were not at all adverse. We had sent letters to the perpetrator regarding water damages and similar issues because we need to keep our business with our neighbour transparent because she is egregious. The Police officer told us the letters were unwelcome and we should not correspond with her. Another police officer, in a telephone conversation , stated to my husband the letters were harassment. I have checked the home office guidance which says the police should ‘Ensure that the powers are used appropriately without impacting on behaviour that is neither unlawful or anti social.’ We were not only let down by the police investigation but feel victimised, by the police response, the police have used their ‘power’ inappropriately in instructing us not to correspond with our abuser (when we sometimes have to communicate and could not communicate any other way)
5. The Police have identified that their investigation was flawed, have not re-opened the investigation and we are left continuing to suffer with an escalation of events, what can we hope to achieve if we push for a community trigger, so far the only outcome would have been mediation, and we have no desire to communicate with the abuser, simply a cessation of negative activity.
6. Our abuser told me years ago that she suffers with OCD, I accept that she has mental health issues, I accept that our ‘reasonable correspondance’ makes her anxious, as indeed any interaction with her causes us anxiety. We have given her lea-way because of her anxieties, but her actions have and are causing distress. The Home Office guidance states that the police should ‘understand what is driving the behaviour in question’. The police excused secret gardening after dark as ‘not illegal’, excused her cutting our side of the fence (not her own) as ‘cutting her own property-not criminal damage’ (The police are wrong about the property ownership too and we have filmed evidence) In effect our experience of this Police investigation was that the Police have ignored overwhelming evidence that the behaviour exhibited by this individual is a ’cause for concern’, probably escalated by the pandemic. No acknowledgement has been made to the long term victimisation we have suffered or what is driving the behaviour, or how the police actions (ignoring the behaviour) have bolstered the confidence of the abuser, and escalated the behaviour, we are looking to move elsewhere as we feel ‘gagged’ by the police response, our abuser successfully misdirected the police who she told’ did not want to take the matter further’ but they ignored even her and they too victimised us.

    Rebecca Brown Posted on9:28 am - 20th November 2020

    Hi,

    Thank you for your comment. We continually lobby for better legal protections for victims of anti-social behaviour. Currently however, the only victim safety net is the community trigger. Your local police force or council will administer the process and they will set a threshold which is that you have suffered 3 incidents in the last 6 months, all of which you have reported within 30 days of the incident occurring. The community trigger is designed to manage cases that are both serious and persistent. If you make an application, that is what the authority should consider.
    We cannot comment about about a police investigation as we are not qualified to do so. However, i would recommend you contact your local council’s anti-social behaviour team to see if they will look at your case or if you can invoke the community trigger.
    We hope this advice is helpful
    ASB Help

Norma Valentine Posted on1:02 pm - 20th November 2020

I’ve been a victim on Asb for 8.5 years now. I feel nothing effective has been done. I’m am living on my last nerve, and I’m not sure what my reaction is going to be against this neighbour if nothing is done.

    Emma Robert Posted on12:08 pm - 23rd November 2020

    Hello,

    Sorry to hear this. Have you heard of/activated a Community Trigger before? If you (or others) have reported an incident 3 or more times within a 6 month period you can activate the Community Trigger (also known as ASB Case Review) through your Local Authority. This has been designed to give you, the victim, the right to demand that agencies deal with persistent anti-social behaviour.

    There will be a multi-agency case review which involves various agencies (eg. local Police, Local Authority, Housing Association, NHS). This is different from a single-agency complaints process which looks at faults in the way an agency responded. The Community Trigger process is more of an attempt to ultimately fix the problem and stop the anti-social behaviour.
    More information and a local directory can be found on our website here: https://asbhelp.co.uk/community-trigger/
    Thank you