“Don’t suffer in silence” – ASB sufferer’s plea to other victims
A woman from Birmingham whose life was made a living nightmare by anti-social behaviour is urging other victims to contact authorities and not to suffer in silence.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity after having endured years of abuse, the woman, who we’re calling Lisa, says she doesn’t want others to experience what she’s been though.
In a video with West Midlands Police as part of the force’s ‘In Depth: ASB’ week, the mother-of-two talks about the impact anti-social behaviour has had on her family, who still live in daily fear.
Her ordeal began many years ago and started with rubbish being thrown onto her garden; however the behaviour escalated over time and soon became a daily occurrence.
But despite being scared to leave their house, she and her family couldn’t quite bring themselves to call the police and continued to try and ignore the constant barrage of harassment and intimidation.
One day though they reached breaking point and Lisa called the police to make an official complaint sparking lengthy legal proceedings which ultimately saw the offenders put before the courts.
“It got worse before it got better,” said Lisa. “When they found out we’d spoken to the police we suffered even more abuse. It made the whole family very stressed… sleepless nights and the children were frightened.”
Lisa was supported by officers and PCSOs from her local neighbourhood policing team as well as Birmingham City Council and the Birmingham Residents Anti-Social Victim Empowerment (BRAVE) project throughout the case.
They advised her to keep a regular diary of the ASB and to install CCTV cameras outside her home to document events – footage which was later used as evidence in court.
It was a traumatic experience for Lisa but despite many more challenging months suffering at the hands of her tormentors, she’s glad she found the courage to make a complaint.
She said: “At first you just put up with it but unfortunately it only makes it worse because they think you’re weak. I don’t regret that we reported it to the police because the more you keep silent, the more it will just go on and on. If you deal with it at the beginning, it will take time, but you can do it.”
Lisa is backing West Midlands Police’s efforts to encourage more people to report ASB and has issued a plea to other victims: “Don’t suffer in silence. You should share it with others – friends, relatives, colleagues, authorities. There reaches a point where you can’t cope anymore – you have to speak out and ask for help.”
For more information about Victim Support’s BRAVE project in Birmingham click here
If you live outside Birmingham or are looking for more information about anti-social behaviour and how police can help click here