What is antisocial behaviour?

Antisocial behaviour is any form of persistent activity that causes you distress or is a nuisance. It can be very upsetting, especially if the problem is ongoing and it can affect your quality of life. Antisocial behaviour includes:

  • harassment
  • threatening or drunken behaviour
  • verbal abuse
  • vandalism, property damage and graffiti
  • noise from houses and gardens
  • animal nuisance
  • problems with rubbish and flytipping.

What you can do

Your local council, neighbourhood police and other community safety agencies, such as social housing landlords, all have a responsibility to tackle antisocial behaviour. If you’re affected, it’s a good idea to keep a record of what has happened so you can give them details if you decide to report it. Write down:

  • what is happening
  • who is doing it
  • when – include dates and times
  • how often it has happened.

The charity ASB Help has more advice about how to gather evidence of a problem and how to tackle it.

You can report antisocial behaviour to:

  • your local neighbourhood policing team – it doesn’t have to be a criminal act. Call 101, or 999 if it’s an emergency
  • Crimestoppers if you want to remain anonymous
  • your local council
  • your landlord.

Taking action

Any action you take depends on the nature of the problem and what you want to happen as a result. For example, you could take civil proceedings if you want a court order to stop the behaviour happening again. Or you may want the police, your local authority or your landlord to take action. Your local Citizens Advice can give you practical advice about your options.

Your local Neighbourhood Watch or residents’ association may also be able to help. If you’re a tenant, you could contact your landlord or housing association.

You can also get advice and emotional support from Victim Support.

Neighbour disputes

If the problem involves a dispute with your neighbours, try to resolve it informally by speaking to them or writing to them first. If this isn’t possible, you could ask your local council for help. For example, if there’s a problem with persistent noise, environmental health officers may be able to help.

Community mediation schemes can also be very useful if there’s a dispute between neighbours. Ask your local council about services in your area and if they are free. You can also find a civil mediation provider on civilmediation.justice.gov.uk.

You can find more information about how to resolve a dispute with your neighbours on gov.UK.  

Next steps

To contact your local council, go to gov.uk/find-local-council

If you want to take legal action, you might be able to get free initial legal advice through a Law Works legal advice clinic lawworks.org.uk or from the Disability Law Service dls.org.uk.

You can find legal specialists through the Law Society solicitors.lawsociety.org.uk

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