Harassment has a legal definition in the Equality Act 2010. It may be summarised as unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the individual or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the individual.
The protected characteristics relevant to harassment are age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
Harassment may take the form of threatening or aggressive action, both verbal and physical, involving attacks on property as well as on people. Incidents of harassment include offensive graffiti, abusive language and behaviour, violence towards people of all ages and damage to homes or possessions.
Newlon does not tolerate harassment by, or of, its residents. Newlon has a duty to ensure equality of access to its housing and aims to take every possible step to eliminate harassment. It is a condition of your lease / tenancy agreement that you, members of your household, or invited visitors do not commit any harassment or threat of harassment on the grounds of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability or other which may interfere with the peace and comfort of, or cause offence to, any other persons in the neighbourhood or to any tenant, agent, employee or contractor of the Trust.
Newlon aims to take a victim centred approach when receiving reports of harassment. This includes:
- prompt response
- no action taken without victim’s consent
- all reports are taken seriously, investigated thoroughly and sensitively
- keeping the victim informed
- ensuring the confidentiality of all information within the Trust
If we receive a complaint of harassment, this will be recorded and a visit will be arranged. If the complainant wishes, a friend can accompany them. We can arrange interpreters and the victims may choose the most convenient time, and the venue where they feel most comfortable.
With the victim’s consent the alleged perpetrator will be contacted if they are a Newlon tenant and also any witnesses. This can include discrete enquiries with neighbours to discover possible witnesses. The complainant does not have to involve the Police but they can provide support and will help if there is any legal action.
If a Newlon tenant ignores written or verbal warnings and continues to harass neighbours, legal action may be taken to enforce the terms of the tenancy agreement or to prevent nuisance or trespass. If necessary a court order will be obtained for eviction. Criminal action can also be brought by the Police or local authority.
What you can do
If you think you are being harassed it is worthwhile keeping a diary of everything that happens, such as dates and times of incidents, which you can then give to us. You can find the incident record sheet to record these on the anti-social behaviour page.