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The Welsh Assembly Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Carl Sargeant, has told the housing sector in Wales to adopt a more robust approach in preventing and responding to anti-social behaviour and domestic violence in Wales. Meanwhile the he Welsh Government published an independent report showing how social housing providers in Wales can better provide for victims of anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse.
He said: “Unfortunately, incidents of anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse remain far too common in homes across Wales.” The research showed from November 2012 to October 2013 the four Welsh police forces received 114,361 anti-social behaviour complaints, whilst Welsh social landlords reported that they had recorded 20,323 complaints.
Sargeant said: “It is clear that the housing sector in Wales has a vital role in identifying and supporting victims and I am determined to do all I can to implement the recommendations within this report. Work to this end has already begun with the proposals the Welsh Government has set out in the Housing Bill and the Renting Homes Bill.
“These bills propose measures which will make it clear what is expected of all landlords, and will place a greater emphasis on identifying and dealing with anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse. They include the introduction of mandatory registration and accreditation for private landlords and letting agents and proposals for a Prohibited Conduct clause to be included in every rental contract covering homes in Wales. The report has also highlighted some good work being done by many across Wales, and I’ve seen for myself recently the good work being done to tackle anti-social behaviour at Bron Afon, for example.
“But whilst we are making progress in tackling these heinous crimes, there is clearly much more to be done. I am determined that we will leave no stone unturned in our commitment to tackling this problem and this must start with the housing sector adopting a more consistent approach when tackling anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse.”
According to the report, the ‘Wales Housing Management Standard for Tackling Anti-social Behaviour’ was introduced in 2008, but by October 2013, only just over a third of social landlords in Wales had been accredited as meeting the Standard. And as the report put it, having that standard does ‘not necessarily appear to correlate with effectiveness’.
Early intervention (such as visits and letters to alleged perpetrators) was felt to be the most effective means of resolving anti-social behaviour cases. Noise would appear to be a major cause of anti-social behaviour complaints. Most landlords are still using a ‘traditional’ housing management response to dealing with noise nuisance, which places undue onus on the victim to maintain a diary of events, is relatively ‘hands off’, and is usually lengthy and protracted. This approach is unlikely be the most appropriate considering the scale of noise nuisance complaints in the social housing sector.
Only 16 landlords (37pc) own their own sound monitoring equipment, and only four landlords (at most) said they provided a 24 hour response to incidents of anti-social behaviour (although several stakeholders said this meant only that victims were able to use a 24 hour phone line to report.
For more visit http://wales.gov.uk/