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Sallyann Ball Community Champion

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My story of anti-social behaviour

 

As a tenant rep and fairly community minded, I knew about anti-social behaviour but had not really paid much attention to it. In March 2004 I became a victim of it myself. I possibly could have coped if it was a few small issues, but for the next two years I was subjected to a tirade of abuse including: all night parties (most nights), people ringing on our intercoms during the night wanting to buy drugs, doors being kicked in constantly, dogs barking & fouling, threats of physical violence and general abuse from one household, seemingly all linked with a lifestyle where drugs were paramount!

 

Police visits were a very common occurrence and as a community we had given up the notion of a peaceful life! Not to mention sleep! What about our rights? I didn’t want my children to grow up in an environment where this was considered the norm.

 

I started to make a diary in June 2004 as her behaviour had spiralled out of control and over an eight-month period I logged 501 different issues. One of the other flats in the block had also become vacant, as the tenant could not cope with living here anymore.

 

I continued to suffer at the hands of my neighbour and her friends. I waded through human, animal faeces and vomit every day. I was super glued to my front door, my children were offered dog food or excrement sandwiches and I was continually reminded that I was a grass and would get my comeuppance. This I knew was not likely to be an idle threat as previously my nine year old daughter had been pushed down the stairs and summary beatings were being handed out to other people. Weapons used for this included knives, baseball bats and guns! On a few occasions I had to be given a Police escort out of the area, forcing me to find refuge elsewhere. I was absolutely terrified but determined to take a stand. However throughout all of this as a community we still strived to ensure that her two very young children had food, somewhere to sleep and were protected as best we could.

 

I worked with various agencies including the anti-social behaviour unit (ASBU), Housing Office, Police, and Social Services. Eventually in April 2006 after being informed by the ASBU as to the enormity of her anti-social behaviour, she moved out! The threat of prosecution and tenancy demotion or possible eviction, forcing her hand.

 

The problem we now faced were two empty flats available in an area with a bad reputation. I could not bear the thought of having to go through all this again. Due to the existing process of allocating properties we weren’t guaranteed reasonable neighbours.

 

I worked with Plymfed, formerly PETRA and various Housing departments on a Sensitive Lettings approach to new tenancies. Before each flat is allocated, prospective tenants get to meet us and have a chance to see how we live. Each new tenant is made aware of our previous experiences and our zero tolerance to anti-social behaviour. As part of this we include a welcome pack for tenants detailing the way we as a community have mutual respect for each other and want to live. Now both flats have now been allocated successfully.

 

I wanted to let people know that you can make a difference if you stand up for what you believe is right and you get support from the multi-agencies.

 

I will not lie and tell you it is easy, it is not. I not only had to fight my aggressor, I had to fight the system! To get them to take me seriously didn't happen instantly. So my advice to any sufferer or victim, stand up for what you believe is right. Everybody has the right to live how they choose as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on anyone else.

 

 

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Sallyann Ball created this on 19 January 2010.
This was last edited on 19 April 2013.
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