Communities get stronger voice to tackle anti-social behaviour

Building on the success of the Department for Communities and Local Government and CIH’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Team, Grant Shapps, the housing minister, initiated a discussion with CIH regarding ASB measures and tools and was particularly interested in ways in which the impact of harm on a community could be voiced.

Working in partnership with Kettering Borough Council and the Social Landlords Crime and Nuisance Group alongside a steering group, the Community Harm Statement has been developed and piloted by 11 landlords over the last six months. The benefits of using the tool has been shown in its use in 21 cases through the courts and has helped assess the impact on community and local resources.

Grainia Long, chief executive of the CIH, said: "The Community Harm Statement is an industry-leading document that will be useful for social landlords to adopt as part of their toolkit for tackling ASB. It has been designed to help social landlords when they take legal action on ASB to present evidence to the court in a consistent manner, and in a way that properly captures the impact not only on individuals but also the wider community. As such it is an opportunity to give communities a stronger voice in the judicial process.

"Anti-social behaviour has such a detrimental affect on communities, the impact of last summer’s riots are testament to that, and until now the voice of the community hasn’t been put forward in the courts. We know the Government is soon to announce new measures to deal with anti social behaviour and this document is the first of its kind to focus on communities and not just individuals."

Steve Boyd, chief executive of Solihull Community Housing, which took part in the trials said: "Our experience shows that Community Harm Statements were effective in court and that judges took notice of them. We feel it is important that community suffering is heard and the statements paint a more detailed picture of how neighbourhoods can be damaged by the behaviour of individuals."

Over the coming months CIH will be working with the sector to encourage all social landlords to implement the Community Harm Statement as part of their toolkit for tackling ASB. Building on the experience gathered in the last two years of the ASB Action team, from April, CIH will be offering a range of products and services to deliver an integrated housing and ASB service. This will include a range of training, advice and support to landlords.

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