Did you know individuals who suffer from Hoarding Disorder are usually silent victims of Antisocial Behaviour?

Hoarding & Antisocial Behaviour

Hoarding Disorder is a complex mental health condition therefore it is never a choice by the individual who displays the behaviour. Although over the last ten years there has been a vast influx in education and awareness around the subject, unfortunately there is still a lot of unwanted stigma attached in wider society.

Given it is a mental health condition, the items that are kept are never the problem, it is the situation that caused the individual to develop the behaviour that should be focused on. This is sadly not the case a lot of the time, due to it being a visible disorder, most people are blindsided by this over the persons wellbeing. This can then lead to being labelled as lazy or dirty which in turn can result in becoming the victims of antisocial behaviour.

Antisocial Behaviour Facts

Latest YouGov research on ASB, released by Resolve

  • Almost 1 in 6 people experience ASB at least once a week, with 1.7 million experiencing it every single day.
  • 1 in 7 people say ASB has impacted their mental health
  • 1 in 4 feel unsafe where we live
  • 1 in 6 consider moving homes
  • 1 in 10 actually move homes
  • 49% of victims do not even report ASB, half because they feel nothing would be done
  • 1 in 5 victims did not know how to go about reporting ASB

Hoarding & Antisocial Behaviour

“I am what you call a hoarder, some people call me a dirty old man, some people think of me as weird and a problem which is horrible…” 

Ted – Hoarding Disorder sufferer

Hoarding Disorder is a very misunderstood condition then added to by the media continuing to portray the subject in such a negative manner. This results in society dissociating it even further from a mental health concern. A lot see it has the individual is simply happy to live in poor conditions and has full control over what they are doing. This could not be further from the truth.

The image at the top of the page states a few recent headlines focused on stories about hoarded homes and the individuals that live in them.

This narrative that is constantly thrown around can cause the individual with Hoarding Disorder to become targeted as the perpetrator.

Those living with the condition often already feel –

  • Lonely
  • Isolated
  • Frightened
  • Too scared to go out
  • Stressed
  • Anxious
  • Depressed

To then be paired with hate and abuse, whether that be in person or online, only adds to the pressure.

The most common forms of ASB individuals with Hoarding Disorder are affected by –

  • Intimidation/Harassment
  • Verbal Abuse 
  • Vandalism
  • Threats of violence

This list is not exhaustive, we know some suffer from Domestic Abuse 

Hoarding & Antisocial Behaviour Cases

As referenced above, those living with the condition can become the perpetrator, it is not uncommon for the behaviour to be reported as antisocial behaviour if neighbouring properties feel they are being affected by the situation. This is then intensified by how many different agencies can be involved, a lot of which still have little understanding on how to appropriately deal with Hoarding Disorder cases.

Yet in reality, the individual who has Hoarding Disorder is usually the victim of ASB.

It is very common that due to the shame, embarrassment and many other issues being present, that they do not often seek help for fear of becoming the subject of further shame, judgement and ‘being told what to do’.

Hoarding Disorder when handled as a case of ASB has a high level of failure. The law and proceedings often come before the persons actual wellbeing which is the only way to truly understand and successfully support an individual with Hoarding Disorder

When treated as ASB it usually leads to –

  • Long term recurrence of the disorder / home conditions
  • Eviction of the property
  • The actual cause of the hoarding being dismissed or not even picked up on

How to Help

The best way to approach any case of Hoarding is with a compassionate and emphatic manner.

The person is never the items they hold on to, they are an individual who has gone through a life event which resulted in seeking comfort in a way that worked for them. They might not even be aware of the reason why until support systems offer them a safe place to explore the narrative.

  • SUPPORTIVE INTERVENTION – A set of principles and compassionate strategies created to minimise harmful consequences of high risk behaviours
  • EMOTIONAL SUPPORT – Work to build trust, listen to hear rather than listen to answer. Staying calm and patient is key, as it is not a quick support process
  • MULTIAGENCY APPROACHES – Ensuring that everybody involved is on the same page is crucial in ensuring you get the best outcome

Agencies who can support

  • Adult & Children’s Safeguarding Boards
  • Community Safety Teams
  • Health Practitioners    
  • Fire & Rescue Services   
  • Charitable & voluntary organisations within your locality 

Impact of the Care Act 2014

Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 requires that each local authority must make enquiries (or cause others to do so) if it believes an adult is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect. When an allegation about abuse or neglect has been made, an enquiry is undertaken to find out what, if anything, has happened.

Section 42 – Care Act 2014

This means that even if a case is not severe enough to be managed under Adult Safeguarding, that they have a duty of care to offer guidance for next steps.

Interested in further training or support?

We have just launched a brand new mentoring program designed especially for practitioners who are seeking guidance on implementing long term hoarding support systems within their organisation or community.

We also offer training on a variety of subjects

  • CPD Accredited Hoarding Awareness Training
  • The Psychology of Hoarding
  • Trauma Informed Practice
  • Resilience and Hoarding
  • Hoarding Fire Awareness

Please contact knowledgespace@cloudsend.org.uk for more information

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