A local authority antisocial behaviour officer writes…
I am delighted to receive three new referrals first thing. One is from environmental health about a noise nuisance case that has escalated and now involves neighbours throwing eggs at each other. One is a family well known to me and all the other local social care agencies and one is from the police regarding a 13-year-old boy who has taken to pooing on people’s doorsteps and running away. I begin my investigations and book home visits for later in the week. In the afternoon I attend a safeguarding conference which always makes me feel slightly anxious with the realisation that our organisation (like many others) could find itself in a safeguarding crisis at a moment’s notice.
I attend half-day training on working with young people, which is aimed at the voluntary sector. But I have tagged along because it is free and our training budget is minimal. It’s a well run course and provides a good opportunity to network. It’s always helpful to find out as much as possible about what the voluntary sector is providing because it is key to diverting young people into activities away from antisocial behaviour. I spend the afternoon catching up on casework, contacting mental health teams and drug and alcohol support teams to check clients’ progress.
Am out most of the day visiting the homes of both victims and perpetrators of antisocial behaviour. When I see the victims I try to provide reassurance and support while trying to glean as much information as possible about what has been happening. Visiting the perpetrators, I am often struck by how vulnerable they are and how a relatively innocuous incident can snowball into a dispute that lasts for years and affects both parties. Back in the office I write up my notes and make one referral to mediation and one to social services.
The morning is spent planning for a schools project where, as part of my preventive work, I will be speaking to year 10 students about antisocial behaviour. This is often associated with young people but in my experience many of my cases involve adults. So I will be discussing perceptions of antisocial behaviour with the students and how their behaviour can improve their reputation in the community. In the afternoon I attend a multi-agency action planning meeting dealing with individuals who have been identified as causing high levels of antisocial behaviour. Most of these individuals are adults. We assess the success (or lack of!) of the interventions in place and try to plan further interventions.
Morning is again spent on home visits, gathering information and giving reassurance. In the afternoon I catch up with police colleagues regarding several of the cases and plan an acceptable behaviour contract (ABC) visit for the following week. A quick catch-up with youth justice and then I am off early to start the weekend: two days of not dealing with neighbour disputes and rowdy behaviour – bliss.