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Your Rights Under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 27 Jul 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Protection From Harassment Act Criminal

Harassment can cause alarm, fear and distress. Many people who are the victims of any kind of harassment can end up becoming ill, both mentally and physically, as a result. It will almost certainly lead to increased stress which can have a major impact in raising blood pressure.

Harassment can also lead to insomnia, anxiety and depression, poor concentration and can dramatically affect your self-confidence and self-respect. People who are being harassed may take excessive intakes of alcohol or drugs to try to alleviate the problem which will, ultimately, only make matters worse. The Protection From Harassment Act 1997 offers you Protection From this Unwanted Behaviour.

The Protection From Harassment Act 1997

Under this Act it becomes a criminal offence if you:

  • Cause alarm, harassment or distress more than once as a result of an action you conduct against another person. The conduct might be verbal or non-verbal and it doesn’t have to be the same type of action on each occasion – if the person feels alarmed, harassed or distressed by your actions, then it is deemed harassment, even if that was not your intention.
  • Take any kind of action against another person which causes a fear of violence. This must happen on at least two occasions. The alleged offender must be aware, or ought to be aware, that their actions are likely to induce a fear of violence in the other person.

Civil Injunctions

The Protection From Harassment Act 1997 also permits you to take out a civil injunction against the alleged offender, as a right to protection and possible compensation in cases where a criminal prosecution isn’t appropriate or there is insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal case. This can be very useful as it’s often a civil injunction being put in place which will prevent the alleged offender from persisting with the behaviour.

Police Assistance

If you feel you are at immediate risk of violence as a result of harassment, then you should Call The Police. Under The Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, the police can force the alleged offender to leave the vicinity of your home or the location where you might be at the time, and they have the powers of arrest if the alleged offender fails to comply with this order.

Dealing With Stalkers

Harassment isn’t always about people wanting to cause harm to another. Sometimes, it’s completely the opposite. People who might have a strong admiration and perceived ‘love’ for another person can end up becoming so obsessed that they might end up stalking you. This doesn’t necessarily mean just following you around or calling you on the phone, but would include situations where they are writing to you persistently and/or sending you unwanted gifts. And, should this be the case, then they are also guilty of causing harassment for which they can ultimately be prosecuted.

Therefore, whether it’s the intention of the alleged offender to cause harm by their harassment or not, or even if they’re unaware they might be causing alarm or distress, it is still an offence under the Act.

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I have had an on going thing with my ex partners sister over a year ago she took me my ex & my sister to court saying that we had harassed her it wasn't proven in court that we had done anything wrong but the judge gave me & my ex an non melsation order for a year & my sister an injunction that we stuck to for 12 month over that time she has phoned the police on me 30 times with no evidence of me doing any thing but they have been to my work they have come to areast me on numerous ocation when I haven't done anything wrong she is using the police to harasses me I don't no what to do every time I speak to the police they never listen to me they always take her side & believe all of her lies she has made another report about me again so I have to go voluntary to the police station on the 15th August again when I haven't done anything how can she keep getting away with it
Clare - 27-Jul-16 @ 9:16 AM
i was threatened by my neighbour with a baseball bat and since then he broke his bail on countless occassions but all police say is its your word against theirs i have recordings of him threatening to harm and kill me video and photos of my back were he elbowed me in it everytime he sees me shouts abruise at me need advice on what else i can do ive even seen police can issue an injuction but they wont do it
madbuffy - 26-Jul-16 @ 10:18 AM
I suffer from agoraphobia and other illnesses which keep me in pain and suffering on a daily basis (I'm not looking for sympathy just advice). When my daughter had problems and my grandchildren were taken into care I was told I couldn't have them because of my agoraphobia.My sister (who bullied and hit me growing up) has always tried to control my life by telling people untruth's about me to turn them against me. Only the people closest to me can see what she's doing. Others believe her because she bribes and manipulates them.She is crafty and clever! She has managed to isolate me from members of my family at one time or another by lying to them about me.The problem is she never had children of her own (for selfish reasons) and now she is trying to steal my children and grandchildren as she is too old now to have her own.She makes up lies about me to the local authority to my grandchildren (one of which is ill in a mental facility and doesn't need to hear it).Because I retaliate by writing them emails (not on a regular basis just when I find out the've been lying and causing trouble for me.They have reported ME to the police when it is actually them harassing me! There is lots more to tell but I would really like advice on how to stop my sister interfering in my life please?
Bevannel - 26-Jul-16 @ 2:04 AM
Hi iv recently beengiven a male family Surport worker from social services to help me as iv got a autistic son who's very hard to care for and the whole family suffer from his behaviour however this Surport worker is always insist ant on having one to one sessions with me hardly ever with the children and he makes me feel quite uncomfortable but iv also found him to be sitting outside my home listening when I'm not in trying to hear noise he has sat outside for over an hour watching sometimes and he sometimes arrives after 9pm tonight I was spending girlie time with my daughter as her treat for passing sats awards etc my sons godfather was home with the boys he turned up around 9-15 pm and was told I'm not home he demanded to enter my home after he sat outside for over an hour and now he's leaving voice message telling me he thinks I was home and I should call him to talk or he will have to report it he came in my home and I clearly wasent here now this feels like threats to call him I'm actually scared as his behaviour is not of Surport more of scary stalker what can I do to get a different worker and him away from me
Kerryann - 22-Jul-16 @ 12:32 AM
Hi iv recently beengiven a male family Surport worker from social services to help me as iv got a autistic son who's very hard to care for and the whole family suffer from his behaviour however this Surport worker is always insist ant on having one to one sessions with me hardly ever with the children and he makes me feel quite uncomfortable but iv also found him to be sitting outside my home listening when I'm not in trying to hear noise he has sat outside for over an hour watching sometimes and he sometimes arrives after 9pm tonight I was spending girlie time with my daughter as her treat for passing sats awards etc my sons godfather was home with the boys he turned up around 9-15 pm and was told I'm not home he demanded to enter my home after he sat outside for over an hour and now he's leaving voice message telling me he thinks I was home and I should call him to talk or he will have to report it he came in my home and I clearly wasent here now this feels like threats to call him I'm actually scared as his behaviour is not of Surport more of scary stalker what can I do to get a different worker and him away from me
Kerryann - 21-Jul-16 @ 11:06 PM
Please help had enough now. Last year my husband was assaulted on our pathway for asking some kids to play else where with their ball. They live round the corner from us and we have had damage to our car and property. There is a no ball sign up. It went to court and the guy got community service and £200 to pay us plus court costs. It was his 4th assault on record. Nt had a penny yet of course because he's on benefits. Anyway since that day one if his kids and a few of his friends who live round the corner have harrassed us. They play ball by our drive kicking it hard at our fence throw sticks and stones at each other over our car and we have 2 dents already (new car had it for a month) My husband doesn't go our to speak to them and hasnt done for a year. We hoped if we ignored them they would get bored and move away. But they continue and two of the boys aged 12, stand outside shouting verbal abuse at our house. The language is vile. They also shout paedo at our house. I work in an infant school and my husband is a paramedic, we both find this very distressing. We have had eggs thrown at our house but have no proof who did it. We log everything with the housing association who have now said it's our word against the kids. We asked if we could video but we were told it was illegal. There are 3 families involved, we can't have a reasonable conversation with them because all they do is scream at us. All three drink and take drugs, none of them work. I can't go on like this. Dreading the school holidays
Michey - 21-Jul-16 @ 5:16 AM
Hi, me and his guy knew each other from high school but when we left he made horrible comments about me on social media and also shared a pic of me but cropped out the eye area. When I confronted him he threatened me and now keeps turning up to places near where I live. He just parks in the car park not doing much but it intimidates me so much. Do you think I should file a harassment to the police
Tas - 19-Jul-16 @ 7:26 PM
Hi I've had on going trouble with my neighbours daughter to telling threating to hurt my children to calling me white trash to threating violence bringing her bf round to intimidating me telling me I carnt hose my garden or cut my lawn or go in my shed talking loudly about me to her guests to telling my kids to shut up at 6in the evening so she not allowed to play in garden spreading rumours about my guests to having no privacy as always watching and looking who comes and goes keeps saying she reported me and gonna lose my house for stories what arnt true threating my visitors and screaming out the window what can I do
Nic - 18-Jul-16 @ 2:47 AM
Steve - Your Question:
Seeking advice!My ex and I were married 19 years and are almost 4 years divorced. She harasses me from time to time and mostly it's just run of the mill annoyances. One thing that I am finding over the top however is her threat to disrupt my peace at my family's cottage as she knows this has been and still is a special place for me and the kids. Given the length of our marriage and the fact she remains close to my step sister (who also has access to the family cottage) she seems to feel it is her right to be there. Currently the cottage is in my father's name. It is willed to my step sister and me. I'd like to know if I can get a restraining order to keep my ex from that property both now and especially when I am half owner. What must I do to ensure I that I will not have to worry about her showing up there???Thx!!!

Our Response:
It might be worth getting professional legal advice on this - it's probably an injunction rather than a restraining order that's needed. Have you tried specifically asking her not to visit the cottage, especially while you're there? Will your step sister support you in this?
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Jul-16 @ 12:00 PM
TiredAnnoyed - Your Question:
The girl (we are both adults) downstairs from me keeps harrassing me and making up stories and is in general overly dramatic. Like Tony Award worthy. This all started because I called out my BF (whom I live with) out on always coming to her "damsel in distress" antics. You can see where this is going. I went to leave one day and he was once again fixing her car. I walked up to him said sternly "I'm leaving and you better charge her". Since that day shes been making up stories and creating all kinds of hostility. She makes comments really loud about me. I'm an adult and shes not hurting my feelings any but its the lies. She said I charged at her and her kids and yelled and scared the kids which didn't happen. (Side Note all she does is yell at her kids). She threatened a restraining order (which I would be the 3rd person she's tried to get one out on in the 2 years she's lived there)She's taken a package that I had come in from Comcast and denied taking it. When UPS interviewed her she said that she refused the package saying that no one with that name lived here. Obvious federal offense for taking mail that doesnt belong to her. The package still has not been delivered since she "refused" it. On Monday, she texted the BF to say that I sped up the road at her when I left for work the other day. Again, this did not happen and she's melodramatic and just trying to start stuff. It's to the point where I just don't even want to go home to avoid her because all that happens is I get annoyed, angry and frustrated and take it out on the BF (again something she's probably trying to encourage). I wanted to know what should be my next level of action. This is getting out of hand and she's tried to get the landlord involved and rightfully so the landlord doesn't want to get involved. Sorry for being so long.

Our Response:
It sounds as though you're not in the UK, so we don't know if our information is relevant, but here, if the local police could not help then you'd need to take private legal action.
ProblemNeighbours - 15-Jul-16 @ 11:10 AM
Seeking advice! My ex and I were married 19 years and are almost 4 years divorced.She harasses me from time to time and mostly it's just run of the mill annoyances.One thing that I am finding over the top however is her threat to disrupt my peace at my family's cottage as she knows this has been and still is a special place for me and the kids.Given the length of our marriage and the fact she remains close to my step sister (who also has access to the family cottage) she seems to feel it is her right to be there. Currently the cottage is in my father's name...It is willed to my step sister and me.I'd like to know if I can get a restraining order to keep my ex from that property both now and especially when I am half owner. What must I do to ensure I that I will not have to worry about her showing up there??? Thx!!!
Steve - 12-Jul-16 @ 6:32 PM
The girl (we are both adults) downstairs from me keeps harrassing me andmaking up stories and is in general overly dramatic. Like Tony Award worthy. This all started because I called out my BF (whom I live with) out on always coming to her "damsel in distress" antics. You can see where this is going. I went to leave one day and he was once again fixing her car. I walked up to him said sternly "I'm leaving and you better charge her". Since that day shes been making up stories and creating all kinds of hostility. She makes comments really loud about me. I'm an adult and shes not hurting my feelings any but its the lies. She said I charged at her and her kids and yelled and scared the kids which didn't happen. (Side Note all she does is yell at her kids). She threatened a restraining order (which I would be the 3rd person she's tried to get one out on in the 2 years she's lived there) She's taken a package that I had come in from Comcast and denied taking it. When UPS interviewed her she said that she refused the package saying that no one with that name lived here. Obvious federal offense for taking mail that doesnt belong to her. The package still has not been delivered since she "refused" it. On Monday, she texted the BF to say that I sped up the road at her when I left for work the other day. Again, this did not happen and she's melodramatic and just trying to start stuff. It's to the point where I just don't even want to go home to avoid her because all that happens is I get annoyed, angry and frustrated and take it out on the BF (again something she's probably trying to encourage). I wanted to know what should be my next level of action. This is getting out of hand and she's tried to get the landlord involved and rightfully so the landlord doesn't want to get involved. Sorry for being so long.
TiredAnnoyed - 12-Jul-16 @ 3:31 PM
Zoe - Your Question:
Hi,Me and my family have been harassed by our neighbour for 3 years. He is constantly escalating his actions, he swears at us, throws things over the fence (rubbish, leaves, pegs, stones etc), he makes rude gestures towards us, and I personally feel very intermediated by him, as he stares at me and watches me, only today he was leaning over our back fence staring in through the window at me, and a couple of months ago he stood in front of my front gate blocking it so I couldn't get into my house. A solicitor is now involved and the council and police also, but the council and police are not doing much for us, and our solicitor has said we can put an injunction on him. Could you help advice me on this as I can't keep feeling like this. I'm getting upset a lot and I feel such bad anxiety everytime I leave the house.

Our Response:
We can't give you much more advice in terms of where you can turn. You've already contacted the police and council but may your solicitor's advice of a injunction might be the best one to try at this stage.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-Jul-16 @ 12:17 PM
Hi, Me and my family have been harassed by our neighbour for 3 years. He is constantly escalating his actions, he swears at us, throws things over the fence (rubbish, leaves, pegs, stones etc), he makes rude gestures towards us, and I personally feel very intermediated by him, as he stares at me and watches me, only today he was leaning over our back fence staring in through the window at me, and a couple of months ago he stood in front of my front gate blocking it so I couldn't get into my house. A solicitor is now involved and the council and police also, but the council and police are not doing much for us, and our solicitor has said we can put an injunction on him. Could you help advice me on this as I can't keep feeling like this. I'm getting upset a lot and I feel such bad anxiety everytime I leave the house.
Zoe - 4-Jul-16 @ 4:54 PM
Bladiabla - Your Question:
Hi! I was in a relationship last year that ended because he was mentally and emotionally abusive. When the relationship ended he began sending me abusive text messages constantly. With very hurtful things in. This carried on for a few weeks until I spoke to the police and I got a retraining order.He broke this constantly but stalk me and showing up at school when I was picking my son up.The messages still carried on and I was scared for my safety. He wrote bad things about me on Facebook and threatened to put explicit pictures on me on social media. I then bega. Suffering from severe panic attacks and I was very ill. Hiding in the house for days which is not like me at all.Although he has left me alone now I am left with severe anxiety and it has changed me as a person. And I want him to be held accountable.I have documented all the times he stalked me and I have kept screenshots of the messages. Do I have a case? How much will it cost? Do you think I would win? Is it worth it? Will I get any help with fees ? I am a single parent living on benefis. I'm on the sick now because of my severe panic attacks x

Our Response:
Unfortunately these are all questions you would need to ask a solicitor directly.
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Jul-16 @ 12:35 PM
bobby- Your Question:
Hi I m mentally nd emotionally harassed by my sister nd other family member. myself mother of two kids living on separation from husband for for then 16 years, actuallywas never in good relation with him, always came back home from his house never to return back, but my family members forced me back giving me mental pressure, now I have decided to file a divorce nd maintainance case against him with my mother's concern but my sister is harassing me not to file,. My question is don' t I have a right to file a case nd live my life peacefully. I don' t have a privacy nd space in my life, feel like ending up my life only because of my family especially for my second sister. please help me out can I lodge a complaint against her.

Our Response:
If you've over the age of 18 you can choose to do whatever you like. You do not need the consent of your parents or sister.
ProblemNeighbours - 30-Jun-16 @ 12:29 PM
Hi! I was in a relationship last year that ended because he was mentally and emotionally abusive. When the relationship ended he began sending me abusive text messages constantly. With very hurtful things in. This carried on for a few weeks until I spoke to the police and I got a retraining order. He broke this constantly but stalk me and showing up at school when I was picking my son up. The messages still carried on and I was scared for my safety. He wrote bad things about me on Facebook and threatened to put explicit pictures on me on social media. I then bega. Suffering from severe panic attacks and I was very ill. Hiding in the house for days which is not like me at all. Although he has left me alone now I am left with severe anxiety and it has changed me as a person. And I want him to be held accountable . I have documented all the times he stalked me and I have kept screenshots of the messages. Do I have a case? How much will it cost? Do you think I would win? Is it worth it? Will I get any help with fees ? I am a single parent living on benefis. I'm on the sick now because of my severe panic attacks x
Bladiabla - 29-Jun-16 @ 1:32 PM
hi i m mentally nd emotionally harassed by my sister nd other family member. myself mother of two kids living on separation from husband for for then 16 years, actuallywas never in good relation with him, always came back home from his house never to return back, but my family members forcedme back giving me mental pressure, now i have decided to file a divorce nd maintainance case against him with my mother's concern but my sister is harassing me not to file,. My question is don' t i have a right to file a case nd live my life peacefully. i don' t have a privacy nd space in my life, feel like ending up my life only because of my family especially for my second sister. please help me out can i lodge a complaint against her.
bobby - 29-Jun-16 @ 6:47 AM
We are being harassed by social workers to the point that my daughter is suicidal.She's only 13,has stopped going out the house all together, she never had anxiety until these social workers started to show up. They say about emotional abuse, but they are the ones doing it by making my daughter feel uncomfortable taking games for to play that are aimed at a much low age group.She comfort eats after these meetings and often talks about ending her life to get the social workers off her back.
Mum - 29-Jun-16 @ 6:42 AM
For a while now my parents have been dealing with anti social behaviour. A neighbour has managed to turn a few neighbour against my dad making him out to be something he's not. He's been accused of being verbally and physicallyaggressive towards a lady who trys the I'm a old frail lady who lives on her own. Their is only a few years between my dad and this neighbour and she definitely isn't frail... but up to now my dad has had no contact with her since a disagreement about her moving a gate forward. But now we've had oil thrown down our drive,slanderous notes around the village about my dad's business and glass in our soil from wine bottles as well as our gates being opened when we've gone out. Since having security lights fitted and camera installed we've had no more obvious trouble bit now we get letters from solicitors and police calls about light pollution, dangerous dog warnings and making sure our camera aren't peering in her windows. To which none are. We are currently awaiting a visit from a dog warden regarding our uncontrollable german shepherd who is apparently vicious. .All lies. My mum and dad work hard and are trying to do up their property at the minute so money to get a injunction against her isn't yet fesisble however their solicitors said with all the evidence we've got we have a song case. We also are fighting her to stop a public right of way going through our land and past our windows .. Too be continued
Seppuku - 22-Jun-16 @ 11:50 AM
Dawnypawny - Your Question:
Hi, I have been made aware by my downstairs neighbours daughter, that a housing form filled in by her mother and sister states that her mother requires a move into warden controlled facility as I her neighbour, is persicuting and harassing her. I have been her neighbour for 19 years and have never done anything but be good to her. Can she and her daughter be held accountable for using me on an official document?

Our Response:
You would need seek legal advice on this one really.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Jun-16 @ 10:27 AM
jax53 - Your Question:
Hi,My daughter has a neighbour who is private, but she is constantly harassing my daughter playing loud music, all day and most of the night, she has already gotten rid of the last person that lived in the bungalow where my daughter lives, she has sent her dog into my daughters house where it pinned her cat on the sofa, then she breaks the fence and allowws her dog to lunge through and attack my daughters cats and dogs, she is constantly out to openly get my daughter out so she can move her friend in.All we hear is sorry she is private, and there is nothing we can do Help!!!

Our Response:
She should complain about it to the environmental health department as a nuisance especially with regard to the noise and the nuisance animals. They do not distinguish between private and rented properties.
ProblemNeighbours - 21-Jun-16 @ 12:00 PM
john.d. - Your Question:
Hi ! got a problem with someone telling the local council that I am going to and from work whilst useing the disabled bay at the front of our house ,my wife is quite disabled and there for it is needed as she can not walk due to a prosthetic leg and other complications this is the second time I have had to defend myself on this matter we have been told that my wife will loose the bay and that she will loose her blue badge status if this carrys on ,i am not doing what is being said and this is a lie I would like to know who is doing this and how can I defend myself against this, I am very angry over this and feel as though I have lost control and feel spied on , I hope you can give me some advise on this matter thank you.

Our Response:
Are you a legitimate blue badge holder because you have to give your wife lifts etc? Sorry it's not clear what you're asking?
ProblemNeighbours - 21-Jun-16 @ 11:30 AM
Hi, I have been made aware by my downstairs neighbours daughter, that a housing form filled in by her mother and sister states that her mother requires a move into warden controlled facility as I her neighbour, is persicuting and harassing her. I have been her neighbour for 19 years and have never done anything but be good to her. Can she and her daughter be held accountable for using me on an official document?
Dawnypawny - 21-Jun-16 @ 11:21 AM
Hi, My daughter has a neighbour who is private, but she is constantly harassing my daughter playing loud music, all day and most of the night, she has already gotten rid of the last person that lived in the bungalow where my daughter lives, she has sent her dog into my daughters house where it pinned her cat on the sofa, then she breaks the fence and allow ws her dog to lunge through and attack my daughters cats and dogs, she is constantly out to openly get my daughter out so she can move her friend in. All we hear is sorry she is private, and there is nothing we can do Help!!!
jax53 - 20-Jun-16 @ 12:44 PM
hi ! got a problem with someone telling the local council that i am going to and from work whilst useing the disabled bay at the front of our house ,my wife is quite disabled and there for it is needed as she can not walk due to a prosthetic leg and other complications this is the second time i have had to defend myself on this matter we have been told that my wife will loose the bay and that she will loose her blue badge status if this carrys on ,i am not doing what is being said and this is a lie i would like to know who is doing this and how can i defend myself against this, i am very angry over this and feel as though i have lost control and feel spied on , i hope you can give me some advise on this matterthank you.
john.d. - 20-Jun-16 @ 8:32 AM
My dad has treated to hit me (I'm pregnant) and has treated to blow up my house. He used to be violent when I was a child but I never reported it. He is already being watched by social services. I am worried to the point that I can't sleep and that I feel my stress levels may harm my baby. Is there anything I can do?
KatHoward - 17-Jun-16 @ 1:04 AM
My ex son in law has been harassing me ,this didn't happen until my daughter died. Before she died she asked me to have their kids taken away from him,because he wouldn't take care of them. They had 5 boys together.some might not be his.so I had them removed from him,Docs saw the abuse on the boys.this monster beat my daughter and the boys. He is now married to a so called friend of his and my daughter.I really believe he killed my daughter to get her out of three way so he could start a family with the new woman.when we were in a meeting about the boys,he told me I had better be afraid of him,and that he was going to fix me and fix me good to.He and one of the boys went down to a house in own and tore it up.in got married ,moved he found me,came down my driveway looking in my door at me.he has sent people to my home writing down tag information,finding out my new name,where I worked,had to quit my job been there 4 years,because he had people coming in ,buying stuff,then saying to me oh by the way tom said hello.what can i do to stop this? Someone is going to get hurt or killed,I'm tired of watching my back,not having a job,or even going outside because of this jerk.please help me.
Cheeky - 16-Jun-16 @ 9:09 PM
I have a injunction on police informer police won't act what can I do he beat me up on cctv put maggots they my door it goes on and on he's never been arrested cautioned or warned been ipcc mp professional standards I lost my hair and had to move what can I do plz x
Oooo - 14-Jun-16 @ 7:16 PM
Hi my ex landlord is driving by my house really slowly and staring us down as she is driving by are people allowed to do this we feel scared and my children are very scared as she has shown us signs and reasons to believe she had mental issues ? Is this Harrasment ? Cam I call the police would they do something about it ?
bob - 11-Jun-16 @ 6:27 PM
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