Case Studies

Grafitti Case Study - Before Sheffield Chinese Take-Away

On Sunday, 2 July 2017 a case of criminal damage was referred to the Sheffield Community Justice Panel by a police officer.

The case involved two young men who had been apprehended by police officers in the early hours of the morning for spay painting graffiti on to the wall belonging to the owners of a Chinese takeaway.

The police officer had spoken with the harmed person’s, who were the proprietors of a Chinese takeaway, and recommended that the two young men restore the wall by painting over the graffiti. A volunteer caseworker visited the proprietor and heard how this incident had impacted them, they felt that the graffiti had damaged to the image of the business.

It was requested that the two young men arrange for the graffiti to be painted over. Caseworkers spoke to the young men, who are both university students. They apologised to the Chinese takeaway owners for their actions and immediately offered to buy paint and paint the wall themselves.

The students also expressed gratitude at not receiving a criminal record for this incident as this could have damaged their future career or study prospects.

The case was concluded within three weeks of referral and the takeaway owners were very happy with the outcome.

Grafitti Case Study - After Frank’s Story

Frank had been reported for making noise repeatedly to the local authority by his neighbour. He had his sound equipment seized under a court order but still noise was being reported.

The Anti-social Behaviour Officer felt that Frank in himself wasn’t well but was required to follow procedures in regards to seeking possession of his property.

The ASB Office referred the case to the Community Justice Panels to try and avoid evicting Frank as the neighbour had asked for this. The panel co-ordinator established if any further services were working with Frank and if he was engaging with the services.  

It became apparent he had a tenancy support worker who had referred Frank on to Adult Social Care. A Social Worker assessed Frank and then requested a mental health assessment as everyone was concerned for his wellbeing. An assessment was conducted and further support was put in place for Frank around his mental health.

When the co-ordinator first went out to see Frank he would only speak to her in the garden shed and wouldn’t allow access to his flat.  Through going out to meet with Frank it was established that he didn’t have any carpets or curtains in his flat so noise was travelling to the neighbouring property.  

The panel co-ordinator referred the case on to another project who applied for funding for Frank for carpets in his flat. Other services pulled together to donate other items that would help eliminate noise levels. The case never went to panel as the neighbour felt that the noise levels had decreased and didn’t feel the need to go forward.

The case had a number of positive outcomes Frank got support in regards to his mental health, carpets were laid in his flat, donations of other items helped to eliminate noise levels and the notice to seek possession of his property was withdrawn. When the co-ordinator went back to meet Frank to explain the situation he invited her into his flat.

Neighbour Dispute Case

This case was referred by officers from the council’s Neighbourhood Response Team due to complaints regarding noise from dogs and verbal arguments between the neighbours.

Both Parties agreed to a Community Justice Panel and the Community Justice Team arranged home visits with each party. Prior to our visit both parties decided to try and speak with each other to see if they could resolve their issues without our involvement.

An agreement was reached. Mrs Ranson agreed to make an additional effort to keep the garden tidy and free from rubbish that would blow over on the neighbouring property, and Mrs Wroe agreed to make a reasonable effort to be more vigilant around her dogs and tackle their barking whilst she was at home.

When we visited and spoke with each client they further added that there was still an existing dispute of the fencing that they hadn’t managed to resolve. Mrs Ranson claimed that her neighbour’s dog had damaged their fencing and they could not afford to replace it, so felt Mrs Wroe should pay for a new fence.

Mrs Wroe disagreed and stated that the damage had only occurred because the fence was already in disrepair and the dog would not have been able to do the damage had this not been the case. Neither party felt a further direct conversation was necessary but requested indirect communication through the Community Justice Team to try and resolve the matter.

Through the teams help both parties came to a resolution that they would share the cost of the fence and the work would be completed one fence panel at a time to help with finances.

Roberts’s Story

Robert was out and about in the local community when he came across another young person from the same school.

Robert decided to obtain some eggs and then throw them at the other boy. He went away and later came back came back after deciding he wanted to fight with the other boy. The fight took place and Robert was the one that was injured and had to have hospital treatment. The hospital said that if his parents didn’t report the incident to the police they would have to under safeguarding. His parents reported the matter to the police and a Community Justice Panel was offered to Robert. Robert’s parents didn’t want the other young person criminalised for something that Robert had started despite him being injured.

Both young people attended panel with their parents and accepted they were both responsible in different ways regarding the outcome of that day. They both agreed to treat each other with respect and be civil to one another as they attended the same school. Both of the young people had bright futures ahead of them and had one of them gone through to criminal justice system his future dreams could have been potentially lost. Both sets of parents were extremely happy with the process and felt that they also had got a lot out of it.  

They didn’t want either boy criminalised as they felt they were both equally responsible for the outcome.

Neighbour Dispute Case 

The Community Justice Team received a referral from the local housing provider regarding two neighbours, living one above the other in a block of flats who had made complaints against each other. Miss White accused Mr Richmond and his family of loud banging at all times in the day and playing music. Both had verbal altercations with each other in the street and numerous complaints had been made to the council, concierge and housing organisation.

Miss White had significant existing mental health issues and stated that the issues with the tenants above were having a negative impact on her mental health. The Community Justice Team visited both parties to find out more information from each person’s perspective and assess whether a Community Justice Panel would be appropriate.

After visiting both parties, it became apparent that Mr Richmond was unaware of how much the sound of his children playing could be heard through the floor due to the laminate flooring. We went ahead with a panel and both parties spoke about the impact each person’s behaviour had on the other.

Mr Richmond said that he was sorry for the amount of distress described by Miss White, but that the noise was not excessive and that it was normal noise from living in flats. Miss White and Mr Richmond came to an agreement that they would not shout at each other in the future and that Mr Richmond would stop his children from jumping on the floor boards.

To try and help solve one of the main issues Mr Richmond stated that he would make sure they played in different rooms, rather than the one above Miss Whites bedroom where she spent most of her time. Mr Richmond also agreed to let the concierge know about any occasions where there may be more noise such as the children’s birthday parties so they could inform Miss White in advance that there may be more noise and what time it was expected to end.

Throughout assessments prior to panel it became clear that whilst an agreement would be helpful in the situation Miss White also appeared to have some unrealistic expectations for the amount of noise she considered to be acceptable.

After speaking with Miss White at length after the panel it became apparent that she had a lot of stress in other areas of her life which was making it difficult for her to cope. Miss White was referred for counselling to help