16 Days of Activism
We’re proud to support the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism – a global campaign to end violence against women. We’ll be posting to our social media channels during the campaign to raise awareness. We’ve also caught up with Eleanor Randall, Community Safety Manager, to show how Town & Country Housing (TCH) supports residents who may be experiencing violence or Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB).
The key purpose of our Community Safety team is to help and support TCH residents who may be experiencing domestic abuse, ASB or are vulnerable in another way. We are also here to help the person who may be causing issues that are impacting on residents. Whatever the problem, our aim is to work towards a resolution.
As our Annual Report to Tenants 2023-24 shows, domestic abuse is one of the top four categories that are reported to us, with 141 cases in the last financial year. The other three areas are the ASB categories of noise (188 cases), verbal abuse (185 cases) and drug misuse (148 cases).
Whether we’re working with the person that is being affected by, or causing, the ASB our approach is always to engage and support the individual.
As the figures above show, the most common ASB issue we encounter relates to noise. Not all noise is classed as ASB – for example, the noise of children playing outside, or the noise from a neighbour setting off for work every morning at 4am may well not be ASB. However, if someone is playing loud music every day until 2am then that most likely is.
Noise is one of the 14 categories of activities that can be classed as ASB, but regardless of the type of ASB we always approach cases in the same way.
Key to this approach is to understand the impact of the ASB on the complainant. An initial risk assessment will help us to assess the situation, and we’ll go through a similar process with the person that’s alleged to be carrying out the ASB. If the situation is affecting other neighbours, we’ll also talk to them.
Each case is different so it’s vital that we personalise our approach. And because there can be so many different aspects to an ASB case, it’s very rare that we can solve the issue on our own.
We work with a number of different agencies, from local and district councils to the police, social work teams, community groups, resident associations, Citizens Advice and other charities that can offer support.
This approach allows us to tackle the root causes behind the ASB, reduce the impact the ASB is having on an individual or community, and look for solutions to stop the issues from returning.
As said earlier, the main thrust of our work is to help people to remain as a TCH resident, but there are some situations where this joined up, supportive and personalised approach doesn’t work and we have to resort to enforcement action, which can ultimately lead to evictions.
We do all we can do avoid this, and the number of evictions is low. In the last financial year, we dealt with more than 1,000 new ASB cases yet carried out just three evictions.
I’m incredibly proud of how my team supports residents who are experiencing ASB. They deal with some very complex and challenging cases, but they continually go above and beyond to do all they can to help our residents.
It can be a very pressured job, and so it’s important that we look at how we can develop and improve the service to meet the challenges we face.
We have a number of plans for the coming year, including a review of the policies that guide all of our work, and an increased focus on the concept of professional curiosity. This will help us, and colleagues outside of the team, to explore and understand what is happening in a situation.
By seeing the bigger picture and the part that different agencies and charities can play, we’ll be better able to support more people, more effectively, to remain in their homes.