Supporting victims and witnesses
This page provides advice about the support you can expect from L&Q if you are a victim of, or a witness to, an incident of anti-social behaviour.
Am I a victim?
You are a victim if you have experienced an incident of anti-social behaviour and were affected by it in some way.
Am I a witness?
You are a witness if you saw or heard an incident at the time it took place. It doesn't matter if you were person affected by it or not.
What should I do?
If you are a victim or a witness you should contact L&Q Direct and tell us what happened.
If the incident involved a crime then you should also report it to the police.
Why should I contact L&Q?
It is important you come forward because you may have important information to help get justice for you or the victim.
Will I be interviewed?
You will be interviewed by an L&Q officer and asked questions about what happened or what you have seen or heard. It is important you give as much detail as possible even if you think it is not important.
The information you give at the interview will be treated confidentially. We will not tell anyone else that you came forward as a victim or witness unless we have your permission.
What will L&Q do to support me?
If you are having difficulty coping or need extra support we will put you in touch with services that can help. These may include victim or witness support, counselling, mediation, legal advice, social services, health services or housing.
If you feel threatened and don't feel safe at home we will give you extra advice and support. This may involve giving you some tips on personal safety or making improvements to the security of your home.
Will I need to sign a witness statement?
If your account of what happened can be used in a court of law we may ask you to make a witness statement. Any decision to do this will be entirely yours and you only have to sign it if you are comfortable with what it says.
Will I need to attend court?
If legal action is taken against the person(s) responsible you may be asked to give evidence in court. If this happens we will tell you what is expected of you and try to answer your questions and concerns. Attending court should not be something to worry or be fearful about. Court hearings are a lot less formal than they used to be and we will be there to support you on the day.
To which court will the case go?
This depends on the type of court action and whether it applies to civil or criminal law. Civil law deals with disputes between individuals and organisations and is usually heard in a county court. Criminal law deals with crimes and their punishment and is heard in a magistrates or crown court.
Will I get financial assistance?
If you attend court we can arrange transport for you. If you have child care responsibilities, or if you are a carer, we will try to help out with these arrangements too.
Will I be supported at court?
An L&Q officer will attend the court hearing and support you on the day. When you arrive they will introduce you to the relevant solicitor and legal representatives. They will also introduce you to the court usher who will show you where to sit and where to go when the case is called.
If you have mobility requirements or need translation services we will try to arrange these for you beforehand.
If charges are brought against the person(s) responsible you may be entitled to receive help from the Witness Care Unit. They will provide you with support as a witness until the case concludes.
What happens when the case is called?
When the case is called you will be taken to the court room and seated to the right of the judge. The defendant will usually be seated to the left.
On entering the witness box you will be asked to swear an oath on the bible or a book of your faith. If you do not follow a religion you will be asked to 'affirm'. This is a declaration that what you are about to say is true.
What happens when I give evidence?
The barrister for both the claimant and the defendant may ask you questions about your statement. It is important you respond honestly, keep to the facts and take your time when you answer. If you don't understand a question you should ask them to repeat it. If you are unsure about something or don't know how to answer it is fine to say "I don't know" or "I don't remember".
How will the court make a decision?
Once all the evidence has been heard the judge will make a decision about whether the case has been proved. If the case is not proved, it's not because they do not believe you. The decision could be for reasons based on a legal point of law or the evidence may not be sufficient to demonstrate the level of proof required.
In civil cases the burden of proof is "on the balance of probabilities" (was the incident more likely to have happened than not to have happened?) In criminal cases a higher burden of proof is required and it must be "beyond reasonable doubt".
What happens after the hearing?
You will meet with an L&Q officer who will talk to you about the court's decision and explain what will happen next. It is also an opportunity for you to ask questions if there is anything you don't understand.
Where can I find more information?
Victim Support - 0845 303 0900
Information and support service for victims and witnesses.
Information on going to court as a victim or witness.
Words used in court
Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC): This is an agreement signed by the person responsible for anti-social behaviour stating the behaviour that is expected of them. If breached, it may be used as evidence in court to support further legal action.
Affidavit: A written description of events that have been witnessed by someone. This is sworn on a religious book such as the bible.
Affirm: Confirm the truth of something in court (this is used as a non-religious alternative).
Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction (ASBI): A type of injunction that relates specifically to the housing management functions of a landlord.
Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO): An order from a court which prohibits someone from specific anti-social acts or from entering a defined area. A breach of an ASBO is a criminal offence.
Barrister: A legal representative that can put someone's case to the court and question witnesses.
Breach: When the terms of an order have not been kept.
Committal case: A case where the judge hears evidence and makes a decision whether to send the person to prison.
Complainant: The person who suffered from, and complained about, an incident of anti-social behaviour.
Contempt of court: When someone disobeys the court.
County court: A court where civil cases are heard.
Defendant: The person against whom legal proceedings are brought.
Demotion order: An order that ends an existing assured or secure tenancy replacing it with a tenancy with less security of tenure.
Ex Parte injunction: A type of injunction that does not require a notice to be served to the defendant.
Hearsay evidence: Evidence based on what someone has told the witness and not of direct knowledge.
Injunction: An order from the court that tells someone to stop undertaking a particular action against someone else.
Interim injunction: A temporary order made at a court in advance of the full hearing.
Magistrates' court: A court where criminal proceedings are heard and which deals with the less serious offences.
Parenting order: An order making a parent (of a child causing anti-social behaviour) access support to improve their parenting skills.
Perpetrator: The person causing anti-social behaviour.
Plaintiff: The person or organisation that is bringing the case to court.
Possession case: A hearing to decide if a tenant should be evicted from their home.
Possession order: An order that entitles a landlord to legally evict a tenant.
Postponed possession order: A possession order deferred on the condition that the behaviour is not repeated.
Solicitor: A legal representative who can put someone's case to court and obtain the use of a barrister in court.
Statement: A written record of events that a witness signs as a true record of what has been witnessed.
Suspended sentence: A prison sentence that is only enforced if the perpetrator breaks the court order within a time scale set by the judge.
Swear on oath: Confirm the truth of something in court that is sworn on a bible or other religious book.
Tenancy Agreement: A legal contract between a landlord and a tenant that defines the tenant's right to occupy and the landlord's right to receive rent.
Undertaking: A promise made to the court by the perpetrator to either do or not do something.
Witness Care Unit: A service provided by the Crown Prosecution Service which offers support for victims and witnesses throughout the court process.