Noisy Neighbours and Domestic Violence

by Anood Al-Samerai on 17 October, 2011

I have been having a look through the written answers to questions tabled at Southwark Council Assembly meeting last week and they make disturbing reading.

The first worrying fact to emerge is in response to a question from my excellent and hard working Liberal Democrat colleague Councillor Geoffrey Thornton. Geoffrey has uncovered that nearly one in ten of the calls to the Council’s noise team can’t be dealt with at the time the complaint is made.

Following Labour Southwark’s cuts to the noise team a new system was introduced in June of this year. Since then 3028 calls have been made to complain about noisy neighbours, but 275 were outside operational hours. Than means residents will have had to wait until the next shift before getting a response. We proposed a budget that would have protected the noise team but Labour Southwark chose to put millions into their reserves instead.

Southwark Labour councillors like talking tough about crime, but their actions leave a lot to be desired.

In a written answer to a question from me, the leader of the Council admitted that the local housing department has only managed to carry out two evictions across the whole of the borough for anti social behaviour since May of last year. Meanwhile thousands of local residents across the borough have to put up with nightmare neighbours who make their lives a misery.

The response to a question from the experienced and insightful Lib Dem Councillor Lisa Rajan was the most telling of all. Only one council tenant has been evicted for domestic violence since 2010. Across the country 750,000 children witness domestic violence every year and there is research that suggests that those children are more likely to be involved in violent crime as they grow up1.

The links between all of these issues are complex but you can’t fight violent crime with sound bites and slogans alone. What is needed is for the council, the police, the courts and the community to work together to find the long term solutions that are badly needed. I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts.

1. Wolfe, D.A., Wekerle, C., Reitzel, D. & Gough, R. (1995). Strategies to address violence in the lives of high risk youth. In E. Peled, P.G. Jaffe, & J.L. Edleson (Eds.), Ending the cycle of violence: Community responses to children of battered women (pp. 255-274). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

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