Brian and Robert* were living peacefully in their house until their new neighbours moved in. The new neighbours liked to drink frequently on the weekends, and the lifestyle differences between the two couples resulted in conflict. This included homophobic comments aimed at Brian and Robert being made over the garden fence.

The situation escalated over the next few weeks, with frequent police callouts and allegations of ongoing homophobic abuse. In addition, one of Brian and Robert’s neighbours was charged by the police after an incident in the garden that resulted in Brian’s face being scratched. The neighbours refused to admit guilt or take responsibility for the issues, so it was referred to Resolve West’s Conflict Resolution service. Due to the hate crime elements involved, Brian and Robert’s case was covered by funding made available by the Bristol Hate Crime and Discrimination Services (BHCDS) Partnership.

The process

Our Conflict Resolution Practitioners met with both parties separately. Brian and Robert voiced that they were keen to resolve the issues and put an end to the conflict. However, their neighbours stated that they were wrongfully accused and they did not want more hassle. They simply wanted to move on with their lives.

Brian and Robert felt disheartened that their neighbours did not want to meet with them to resolve the conflict. Brian and Robert’s lives were spent feeling anxious waiting for things to flare up again the next time their neighbours started drinking.

Although the neighbours did not want to meet up with Brian and Robert face to face, the Practitioners gave them the opportunity to pass something on to Brian and Robert. Their neighbours took this opportunity and let them know they were very sorry for what they have done and what has been said between them.

What is a shuttle meeting?

In a shuttle meeting, Practitioners assist the parties involved in the conflict to reach an agreement on the issues they are experiencing without meeting face to face. Shuttle meetings can take place in person using separate rooms in the same building, or virtually using break out rooms on Zoom.

This type of meeting is useful in situations where the parties involved have a difficult time being in the same room together due to a lot of strong emotions. Shuttle meetings might also be considered if there has been a history of abuse throughout the conflict.

The outcome

Both parties agreed to keep the case open for a couple of months, to see what happened over the next few weekends. Thankfully, there were repeated quiet weekends so we were able to close the case after successfully supporting the two parties to resolve their conflict.

It has been really quiet since Resolve West got involved. We just want that to continue.

Brian and Robert

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.