Yarlington Housing Association signs up for community justice

Housing association tenants accused of anti-social behaviour will be invited to discuss the impact of their actions at a community justice panel.

The panels encourage those causing harm to acknowledge what they have done and involve local people deciding how they should make amends.

Yarlington Housing Association has made the year-long agreement with Somerset's Community Justice Panel.

Somerset set up its first community justice panel in 2004.

Behaviour contract

Typical offences dealt with include criminal damage, assault and race-related crimes.

Volunteers, who are called facilitators, are trained to oversee meetings between victims and offenders.

Both parties are invited to bring along a supporter, typically a friend or family member.

Offenders must have admitted their offence before they are referred to the scheme by the housing association.

At the end of a meeting the offender must sign an acceptable behaviour contract which contains any agreements around reparation such as paying back a monetary amount or doing community work.

"This process enables our communities to be directly involved in resolving the problems affecting them and endorses our commitment to tackle anti-social behaviour," said Nick Fry, Assistant Director of Housing and Customer Services at Yarlington.

Yarlington Housing Association has 9,000 properties across South Somerset and neighbouring districts.

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