What is harassment?
The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 introduced 2 criminal offences of harassment along with an entitlement to claim damages and/or an injunction in the County Court or High Court. The Act was designed to provide personal protection where inappropriate conduct was taking place which was not covered by the Family Law Act 1996. These are regarded as civil proceedings, not family proceedings.
Who can apply?
Anybody, without limit.
What test applies?
Harassment is only very loosely defined and is conduct that includes "alarming the person or causing them distress". The court takes into account all of the circumstances of the case. The more trivial the conduct the longer it must have occurred to satisfy the test, the more serious the conduct the less incidents or shorter period is required. Either way you have to show a course of conduct, so more than one incident needs to have taken place.
While it is not the same as a non-molestation or occupation Order, the Court does have the power to Order the other party to stay outside of an "exclusion zone", providing similar protection to an occupation Order. The zone can include a place of work.
Where an Order is breached you can apply to the Court for the party in breach to be sent to prison.
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