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Antisocial behaviour - what is it?

Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is when people, who do not live in your family home, behave in unacceptable ways that make you feel worried, intimidated or unhappy.

Teenage girl with arms crossed hanging out with friends

How does it affect people?

This could be a one off, but often happens more than once over a period of time. It may be that because of other people’s behaviour, you feel like you need to change where you go and what you do.

ASB can affect the whole community or area where you live; it may affect your entire family or just be targeted towards you. 

Is antisocial behaviour a crime?

Although ASB itself isn’t a crime, many of the unacceptable actions people carry out when behaving in an antisocial way, are crimes.

Examples of this can be:

  • people drinking alcohol or using drugs in public places or in entrances to homes
  • stalking and harassment
  • unnacceptable levels of noise
  • criminal damage, vandalism or graffiti
  • intimidating behaviour by groups of people such as swearing, fighting and shouting
  • intimidating neighbours and other people through threats or actual assault
  • uncontrolled or dangerous dogs
  • online/cyber bullying including writing abusive messages online, sexting or through text messages
  • hate crime, where people are abusive to you because of your identity (such as your race, religion, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability).

What can I do about antisocial behaviour?

ASB affects many young people who often ask, why is this happening to me? It’s important to know that this is not your fault and you can get help. 

 

ASB can make you feel worried, sad or angry, and it may feel like you’re trying to deal with this all on your own. But talking to people can really help.

 

Some of the things you can do are:

  • Write down what has happened soon after the event, including times and dates.
  • Tell an adult you trust. This could be a teacher, a family member, your youth worker or support worker. Tell them what is going on and ask for their help and advice. They can help you to develop a safety plan so that you can choose how best to stay safe.
  • Think about reporting it to the police.
  • Most councils or housing associations will have an antisocial behaviour team, who will probably have dealt with the same problems you’re facing many times before. This means that they may have a plan of what to do and how they can help you. 
  • Speak to your local Safer Neighbourhood team, who are police in the local community.
  • Talk to your friends. If others like you are suffering in the same way, you could think about getting together as a group to report this – the more people reporting it, the more likely it is to be stopped.

Your questions about ASB

Why is this happening to me?

If you’re being affected by ASB it’s often not because of anything you have done, it is because people in the same area as you have decided to act in a way that may be making you feel scared or unhappy. It is important that you keep yourself safe if you are feeling like this. You can talk to an adult you trust who will be able to help you feel safer.

 

Is what’s happening too small report?

Nothing that worries or scares you is too small to report or to tell someone about. It may be that other people have also reported things they think are small, but all together they paint a bigger picture of what is going on around you.

 

Isn’t it silly to feel scared about this?

Feeling scared is normal – it’s not embarrassing or silly to feel scared about what is going on around you. People who take part in ASB often want others to feel scared or intimidated by what they’re doing. It is important if you feel scared to keep yourself as safe as possible. Talking to an adult you trust, like a family member or teacher, about how you are feeling could also help.

Who can help me?

You&Co – you can talk to one of our support workers on a one-to-one basis, and we can offer you help and support whether you decide to report the antisocial behaviour to police or not. We can give you advice on how crime can affect you and how to cope with it, what to do and what to expect if you decide to report a crime to police, and how to move on from being a victim of crime. You can find out about the support available nearest to you on this website.

ASB Help – this national charity can give you advice and has a list of agencies who can help you if you are experiencing Antisocial Behaviour.

Citizens Advice Bureau – they have specially trained volunteers who can give you advice on your rights. 

Crimestoppers – if you want to provide information about a crime without talking to the police, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

ChildLine – they offer 24-hour support for young people on a range of issues; call 0800 1111

The Mix – this website provides information and support for 16-25 year olds on a whole range of issues, including bullying, cyberbullying, and how to build safe and supportive friendship groups. Get confidential help by telephone, email, text or webchat, for young people under 25; call 0808 808 4994.

Asking for help

Are you thinking about reporting?