Mary’s story

Experienced anti-social behaviour

Mary* dealt with anti-social behaviour from her neighbour after moving into a new home. She writes about her experience of dealing with the police and the support she received from Gill at Victim Support Scotland.

My experience with anti-social behaviour began in January 2012 on moving into my new home, a top floor flat within a block of four. Within the first few weeks, the tenant below me was causing me some concern with loud music, singing, shouting abuse and using foul language. I was new to the area and I did not want to upset anyone, so I tried to talk to the tenant and ask that we sort things out between us, and this was agreed.

However, over time things got much worse, so much so that I had to call in the police. I was constantly phoning them, and on several occasions they spoke with the tenant before moving on to physically removing and arresting my neighbour, which happened many times.

This had a significant impact on my life for the next 2 years. I was not sleeping, and my life was revolving around my neighbour’s outbursts; I often had to sleep on the couch in order to escape the singing, shouting etc. I became very upset and moody with it all. This also had an impact on my family life, as on a few occasions when I had my granddaughter to stay, she witnesses my neighbour’s abuse, and saw him being arrested by the police at all hours.

When the police put me in touch with Gill at Victim Support Scotland I felt as if I had real support. Gill was great – she kept in contact with me on a regular basis, updating me with relevant information on how to keep a diary for the housing association, keeping me informed of the core meetings, and advising me on how to deal with the police. Gill has a very calming and supportive manner, and it helped so much just talking to her, knowing she was there at the end of a phone.

I had not been aware that I could get help from Victim Support for this kind of issue before I was put in touch with them. I am grateful for their support as it made things so much better for me.

When things were at their worst, my neighbour was placed on an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) which I hoped would make things a bit better. However, things just got worse, and this led to my neighbour losing his home. I was overwhelmed with guilt at this; it upset me a great deal as it was never what I had wanted to happen, despite my neighbour making my life unbearable. When the eviction took place, I felt a mixture of anger, guilt and relief.

Thankfully my life is so much better now, the new tenant is very nice and more importantly is very quiet! I was sad when my contact with Gill ended but I know that she and Victim Support are always there should I ever need assistance in the future. I have considered being a volunteer with Victim Support in the future, and look forward to being able to do this.

*Name changed to preserve anonymity. Pictures are for illustrative purposes only.

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