Harassment Injunctions

What is Harassment?

Harassment is when someone, or a number of people behave in a way which makes you feel distressed, alarmed, humiliated or threatened. For the harassment to become a crime, it must have happened on at least two occasions. It could be by someone you know, like a neighbour or people from you local area, or it could be a stranger - for example, someone using social media.

Examples of harassment include:

  • Unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits
  • Stalking
  • Verbal abuse and threats
  • Smashing windows or using dogs to frighten you

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 has purposely not fully defined the term “Harassment” so as to allow the courts discretion to decide whether a case is harassment or not. The courts will look at whether most people or a “reasonable” person would think the behaviour amounts to harassment.

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More about Harassment Injunctions

What action can you take?

If you believe you’re being harassed and you would like it to stop, there are two main things you can do, depending on the level of harassment and how it is making you feel.

  1. Contact the police - If you’re being harassed and you feel you're in danger you should contact the police. If you think you’re being harassed because of your disability, race, religion, transgender identity or sexual orientation, you can report the harassment to the police as a hate incident or crime. Find your local police station here www.police.uk. They will then investigate and decide whether to start a criminal case against the abuser. If found guilty the offence carries a maximum prison term of five years.
  2. Take action under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - Harassment is both a criminal offence and a civil action under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. This means someone can be prosecuted in the criminal courts if they harass you. It also means you can take action against the person in the civil courts to prevent them from doing it again in the future.

When can you take civil court action about harassment?

If you’ve been the victim of harassment you can take action in the civil courts against the person harassing you, as long as it is within six years of when the harassment happened. Even if the person harassing you has not been found guilty of an offence in the criminal courts, you can still take civil court action to prevent the harassment taking place in the future.

What can the civil court do about harassment?

  1. The court can make an order or injunction - this means the person harassing you must stop their behaviour. If they don’t stop harassing you after the court has made an injunction against them, it's a criminal offence and they can be prosecuted in the criminal courts.
  2. The court can award compensation - if you’ve suffered financial or emotional loss due to the harassment

What if a Harassment Injunction is broken?

It is a criminal offence to break a harassment injunction and could carry up to a five year prison sentence.

What should you do next?

This area of law is comparatively recent and case law is resetting the boundaries all the time. If you are being harassed or stalked and would like to discuss your options, contact us now on 01935 823883 for a no-obligation chat to see how we can help you.

For a free consultation call us on 01935 823883