Antisocial behaviour

Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is when people, who do not live in your family home, behave in unacceptable ways that make you feel worried, intimidated or unhappy.

This content has been written for children and young people. If you’re looking for information for over 18s, visit our Types of Crime information about antisocial behaviour.

How does it affect people?

It could be a one-off, but ASB often happens more than once over a period of time. It may be that because of other people’s behaviour, you feel like you need to change where you go and what you do.

ASB can affect the whole community or area where you live. It may affect your entire family or just be targeted towards you.

Girl being picked on by teenage friends

Although ASB itself isn’t a crime, many of the unacceptable actions people carry out when behaving in an antisocial way, are crimes.

Examples of this include:

  • people drinking alcohol or using drugs in public places or in entrances to homes
  • stalking and harassment
  • unnacceptable levels of noise
  • criminal damage, vandalism or graffiti
  • intimidating behaviour by groups of people such as swearing, fighting and shouting
  • intimidating neighbours and other people through threats or actual assault
  • uncontrolled or dangerous dogs
  • online/cyberbullying including writing abusive messages online, sexting or through text messages
  • hate crime, where people are abusive to you because of your identity (such as your race, religion, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability).

ASB affects many young people who often ask, why is this happening to me? It’s important to know that this is not your fault and you can get help.

ASB can make you feel worried, sad or angry, and it may feel like you’re trying to deal with this all on your own. But talking to people can really help.

Some of the things you can do are:

  • Write down what has happened soon after the event, including times and dates.
  • Tell an adult you trust. This could be a teacher, a family member, your youth worker or support worker. Tell them what is going on and ask for their help and advice. They can help you to develop a safety plan so that you can choose how best to stay safe.
  • Think about reporting it to the police.
  • Most councils or housing associations will have an antisocial behaviour team, who will probably have dealt with the same problems you’re facing many times before. This means that they may have a plan of what to do and how they can help you.
  • Speak to your local Safer Neighbourhood team, who are police in the local community.
  • Talk to your friends. If others like you are suffering in the same way, you could think about getting together as a group to report this – the more people reporting it, the more likely it is to be stopped.

Why is this happening to me?

If you’re being affected by ASB it’s often not because of anything you have done, it is because people in the same area as you have decided to act in a way that may be making you feel scared or unhappy. It is important that you keep yourself safe if you are feeling like this. You can talk to an adult you trust who will be able to help you feel safer.

Is what’s happening too small report?

Nothing that worries or scares you is too small to report or to tell someone about. It may be that other people have also reported things they think are small, but all together they paint a bigger picture of what is going on around you.

Isn’t it silly to feel scared about this?

Feeling scared is normal – it’s not embarrassing or silly to feel scared about what is going on around you. People who take part in ASB often want others to feel scared or intimidated by what they’re doing. It is important if you feel scared to keep yourself as safe as possible. Talking to an adult you trust, like a family member or teacher, about how you are feeling could also help.

Victim Support– you can contact your nearest Victim Support office, call the 24/7 Supportline, contact us via live chat, or if you are 16 or older, you can create a My Support Space account. This is a free, safe and secure online space where you can work through interactive guides to help you move forward after crime.

ASB Help – this national charity can give you advice and has a list of agencies who can help you if you are experiencing antisocial behaviour.

Citizens Advice Bureau – they have specially trained volunteers who can give you advice on your rights.

Crimestoppers – if you want to provide information about a crime without talking to the police, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Childline – they offer 24-hour support for young people on a range of issues: 0800 1111.

The Mix – this website provides information and support for under 25s on a whole range of issues, including bullying, cyberbullying, and how to build safe and supportive friendship groups. Get confidential help by email, text or webchat, or call 0808 808 4994.