Sandra* was racially abused by her neighbour who lived in the flat above her. There were ongoing issues between Sandra and her neighbour, who had both complained about each other’s music and TV volume. As a consequence of this relationship breakdown, their Housing Officer decided to make a referral into Resolve West.

Sandra wanted to express how she felt directly to her neighbour and address their long-term conflict. When she met with our practitioners, she explained that she felt nervous and angry about the racial abuse she was experiencing.

The process

Two practitioners were allocated to Sandra’s case, they began by meeting with Sandra and her neighbour individually. This enabled the practitioners to gain a full understanding of each parties needs and to provide a space for both of their voices to be heard. The practitioners found that Sandra’s neighbour was initially reluctant to admit her role in the conflict, however, they carefully worked to build trust with her, and she began to admit her role in the incidents. Sandra’s neighbour admitted that she admitted she had been angry, aggressive, and noisy; also remembering occasions when Sandra had upset her, so she had shouted abuse at her. In the initial meetings, Sandra’s neighbour was adamant she didn’t want to meet Sandra face to face. However, her partner joined the discussion and confronted her about some of her behaviours and encouraged her to take part.

The joint meeting between Sandra and her neighbour took place at a neutral local venue, both the parties arrived determined to resolve the conflict. The meeting began with Sandra’s neighbour apologising for the harm she had caused Sandra, specifically relating to racial abuse. At this point, Sandra accepted the apology. The practitioners felt that further discussion was needed relating to Sandra’s neighbour’s racism. This gave Sandra the opportunity to ask specific questions about these incidents, which Sandra’s neighbour provided answered for. They both expressed how they had been emotionally impacted by the breakdown of their relationship.


Sandra had an opportunity to explain to her neighbour how the abuse had impacted her. They parties came up with an outcome plan, with support from their practitioners, that they felt addressed both of their experiences. The agreement offered clear ways on how they would communicate if either of them experienced issues in the future.

*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.