Home > Rights > Your Rights Under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997

Your Rights Under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 May 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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My 26year old son committed suicide,on 31st October 2013. A male served a two week prison sentence for contributing to he's death. He has been working in my road for the last few months,so I see him nearly on a daily basis,which is causing myself and my family a lot of distress and making me ill,and I was wondering if I can get an injunction out on him,so I am able to try and move on with my life
Teenavic - 21-May-16 @ 3:01 PM
Help please....I've got neighbours who kept making DIY noise and who had large amounts of rubbish in the garden. After 3 months of noise night and day. I got the council and environmental health dept involved. They were useless and the safer neighbourhood policing team became involved and were initially helpful and warned them that if they don't stop this behaviour and clear up mess within 14 days the will received some kind of public order. However now he is majoritly quiet after the council gave him time frame of when he can do the work. But they have became abusive to us every time we go in and out of the house or in our back garden. He keeps talking to our neighbours opposite, making up lies and telling them not to make any noise or I will call the police on them. All you can hear every time they go out of there home is abusive comments about us, forcing me to close my windows. Because of the warning they have now started go clear the mess in the garden however are now reporting us for being abusive to them which is an outright lie. At the weekend we were out in the garden cutting the grass and they came out seeming to be making video saying we are calling the police as we are intimadating and then went back in doors. Again another lie. The police are seeming to support them now as they are compling with this warning. And the police said its our word against them. The neighbours are now saying they want to burn all the wood in there garden which was an issue last year as he burns a few things and let's it go on and on days. I feel like he is trying to trap me in my house. I feel intimadated. I feel a sinking feeling every time I go home or know i have to go out side. I know he is playing a game but I just can't take it any longer. Any help or advice will be much appreciated.
Annie - 12-May-16 @ 4:59 PM
We have started to rent a house more than 6 months ago.The minute we moved there my neighbour started to have an interest in our life,trying to be friendly,gave as gifts and asking a lot of questions about our private life,until we got a couple of rabbits and she call the animal protection on us telling them that we are going to grow them and eat them.then the problems started,she is calling the agencie we are renting from about everything,Every little noise everything that she thinks can make a complain about,things are becoming a bit stressful and I don't know how to deal with it because I can't speak with her,she is avoiding us.
Mari - 6-May-16 @ 2:49 PM
A college at work was not happy with arrangements of me getting the shift she was supposed to have due to a mix up. And has sent me a horrible message through the works Facebook group and then today she practically squared up to my face an mouthed abuse Infront of a customer then continued to do so as she walked of, managers know about this but nothing has been done at all she's still going around really mad and storming past me on purpose. What can I do? She makes me feel threatened when she is there?
M - 5-May-16 @ 10:31 PM
RB - Your Question:
My ex keeps turning up at my house. Looking through the window, knocking on the door or just parking across the road. Is this an offence when our daughter lives with me? I am about to seek legal advice in regards to him seeing her officially but this hounding is upsetting. Don't want to ring police to be told thus ok as his daughter lives here-but surely her seeing him doing this and his shouting from his car or through windows can't be right?

Our Response:
If he is shouting or being threatening in anyway then the police may be able to do something. If he is not being allowed to see his daughter, then are you able to talk to him to discuss child arrangements? The courts will ask you to try a mediation service before any contact order for is made, so it might be worth pre-empting this.
ProblemNeighbours - 5-May-16 @ 2:27 PM
My ex keeps turning up at my house. Looking through the window, knocking on the door or just parking across the road. Is this an offence when our daughter lives with me? I am about to seek legal advice in regards to him seeing her officially but this hounding is upsetting. Don't want to ring police to be told thus ok as his daughter lives here-but surely her seeing him doing this and his shouting from his car or through windows can't be right?
RB - 3-May-16 @ 9:17 PM
Since 2012 i have had my neighbour report me to the council for all sorts of things ie cupboard doors banging front & back door banging the dog barking i have had her partner call my youngest daughter a little slapper she was 15 at the time we have had thenm come round and threaten my oldest daughter she reported my oldest daughters fella for blocking the gate with his rucksack which gave us all a great laugh because his bag is always over his shoulder and it's a laptop bag and that is no where near as big as a rucksack i have had my windows smashed and i had to call the police as they resembled bullet holes even the police when they got here thought they were bullet holes at first but it turned out to be that somebody had attacked my windows with a pick axe now although nothing was proved that it was my neighbours that did my windows everybody on the street as me have all said the same thing and they think it was done by her fella and her son. Today i was telling my sister in law whom i may add is hard of hearing and wears hearing aids when we were going out what she has been reporting us for i had to shout to tell my sister in law what had happened low and behold we get back from town and the police were parked on the front they told me not to talk of what is going off whilst outside I THOUGHT THIS WAS A FREE COUNTRY whatever happened to freedom of speech? seems all her family can come up and kick off at us shouting abuse at us but as soon as i say something she is straight on the phone to the police . We have been to mediation but that hasn't worked i tried to get an injunctionout on her only to be told by a solicitor i would have to go private and pay even though i get income support top up for carers allowance so like i told the police i am stuck between a rock and hard place with nobody to turn to . The neighbour was stood under my window the day after my window got broke with her sister and her son saying they are clearly not bullet holes whilst walking back to get to her property her son kicked my front door i rang 999 thinking the police wouldn't be too long but oh how i was wrong i rang them at like 10.30 am and they didn't get here till late afternoon , I understand they have other emergencies to deal with but i still think the response time was diabolical
pillyxpilly - 30-Apr-16 @ 3:56 PM
A family member (sister) of a friend of mine is hanging around the border of my friends property and making her feel very uneasy and scared to leave the property. They had a dispute over their mothers will when my friend was left the family home, this was settled financially by mediation. Her sister has no reason to be hanging around and has been verbally abusive to her previously. This is having a huge impact on the quality of my friends life and she has people who pay to keep their horses on her property who also feel uneasy. She has called the police who have told her it is a domestic issue. Does this mean that the Protection from Harassment Act doesn't apply to her?
Pickle - 29-Apr-16 @ 1:36 PM
A member of my family is having fake Facebook accounts made and is being threatened through message sent from these account.Saying they are going to hurt her un born baby. What legislations and laws can she use to take to the police. At the moment they don't seem Interested at all. I appreciate your help. Tom
Tom - 24-Apr-16 @ 9:57 PM
Em-J - Your Question:
HiA couple who live at the end house on our street look to have cameras installed in bird boxes on their garage. One is pointed up the street towards the main road however the other is pointed down our street towards our house and therefore not pointed at their property. Is this something I could ask the council or police to investigate? I have a child who plays out in the street and do not like the idea of him being filmed. ThanksEmma

Our Response:
Ask them about them. Maybe they're filming the birds going in and out of the bird boxes? You can ask the police to take a look if you're concerned.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-Apr-16 @ 2:32 PM
A woman and her daughter made false claims against my son on Feb 2015.A full investigation was done and my son was found to be innocent. The woman was not happy to find out that her daughter made it up.The woman and her husband started harassing us.I called the police on May 30 to report that she was driving up and down the street yelling at me.She charged out her front door during the summer one day when my son and I walked down the street on the opposite side of her house.She admitted to a neighbor that she charged out the door at us, and that her husband had to hold her back because she wanted to kill me.They moved in Oct 2015 about an hour or more away.She came back to the neighborhood in Feb 2016 and went to the neighbor across the street from us.She told the man of the house that my son molested her daughter.He told two other neighbors and they all ostracized my son.We tried to get a protection order but the neighbor who claims that she made the death threat was too scared to come forward and so was the neighbor who she told the defamatory lies to.When the gentleman who told me about the death threat came over to my house to inform me, he had another neighbor with him.That neighbor wants to come forward and state that the other neighbor did inform me about the death threat.He wants me to get an attorney and subpoena the other neighbor.Is it possible to do this?
scaredforson - 21-Apr-16 @ 10:21 PM
Hi A couple who live at the end house on our street look to have cameras installed in bird boxes on their garage. One is pointed up the street towards the main road however the other is pointed down our street towards our house and therefore not pointed at their property. Is this something I could ask the council or police to investigate? I have a child who plays out in the street and do not like the idea of him being filmed. Thanks Emma
Em-J - 21-Apr-16 @ 4:34 PM
My son is 16 and his ex girlfriends brother keeps waiting for my son after school to intimidate him. He tells him to stay away fron his sister, bit hard as they are in the same classes. My son doesn't even speak to her. Is it harrasment when he is constantly bothering my son .
Tracey1609 - 15-Apr-16 @ 9:51 AM
Sir, I had appointed as a pgt(maths) in dps dhanbad on dated 12 /11 /2013 after satisfying selection committee in full. But now I have been placed in classes 8,9,10,11only. I have not given a single class in 12.While l had been having 10 years of experince in teaching 11,12 in my previous school at the time of joining as a pgt (Maths). So I am not feeling healthy enviorment over here, and turning myself into depression. So help and guide what should be done now
Dadan - 4-Apr-16 @ 6:26 PM
Our neighbour started harassing us after we did renovations to our property. It resulted in slashed car tyres, broken windows, racist abuse, spotlights shone into our windows at night, our toddler grandchildren being photographed, naked, in the paddling pool, false allegations of noise and our dogs howling, to the council. The list goes on. Despite what we have endured over a 4 year period, I have now been convicted of criminal damage after getting paint spots onto their property, from painting our fascias. It was deemed as the result of reckless behaviour on my part. The history between us was deemed inadmissible & I now have a criminal record, despite being the victim. I feel that the system has failed me & my family & am now at the end of my tether.
Collis22 - 31-Mar-16 @ 9:56 PM
My parents had to prosecute their neighbours for harassment.I live opposite my parents and every time the neighbours or their family drive past my house they stare at me and my family until they have driven past. Their behaviour was much worse until I contacted the police several years ago and they spoke to them.But now they just keep staring and it's affecting my health.I'm anxious, fearful and my heart speeds up when I see them.I don't want my little boy to notice as he was affected by them years ago as well. Their staring is intrusive and unnerving.The staring is made worse by the fact they did spend a lot of time verbally abusing me and my family and threatening us.I always feel they are just biding their time. The police treated it like it was neighbours not getting on, but it was always a one sided thing.They and their children went on a campaign on intimidation and threats. I wanted a restraining order but the police discouraged this as to be honest I felt they thought they had better things to do.They did talk about getting an asbo, but they said it would have to be for both parties as these neighbours came back with a fabricated story saying we did things. I did get evidence on camera of the women which the police did see and it did quieten down once they had been spoken to.But they are now starting the staring again. What can I do?I really need some help.
Lyoness - 17-Mar-16 @ 10:31 AM
My elderly mother has an issue with her young neighbours who constantly knock on her door and request money. Mum is 85 and I worry about them doing this. She says no but they keep coming back and it is not good for her health. Can I get police help to get a restraining order. She doesn't want them on her property but they are not listening.
Kitty - 7-Mar-16 @ 6:37 AM
I think that I need some ones assistance . The reason is because today someone wrote on my mail ( This is for you Gay ) . And I feel bullied. I may not know who the suspect , but when I don't pick up mail one of my neighbors do and since today , I didn't pick up my mail , that person probably was the one who may have done this childish behavior. So please, I really need some ones assistance because who ever this person is , is targeting me as their bullyvictim. Help meplease
Steven - 10-Feb-16 @ 9:54 PM
While I'm being illegally monitored stalked harassed with serious shocks hearing subtle voices harassment causing me serious bodily pain. My 2 half brothers Ronald Brown Dwayne Brown and Dwaynes wife Johnny involved an they have also hacked my phone up. I need help
Jojo - 2-Feb-16 @ 10:53 PM
Same exact problem as Tricia AS WELL AS lil 81, i do not know who is leading all of the inconveniences, harassments, defamation of character, damage to my car, entering my apt when i am not there, etc. but it is more than 7 people now. I am currently on probation and disability (amputated leg from car wreck) so it is impossible for me to relocate right now. i am out of friends, out of support, out of money, and out of options
Same as Tricia - 30-Jan-16 @ 6:03 AM
I'm being illegally monitored stalked harassed with serious shocks hearing subtle voices by perps 2 brothers an one's wife. They watch me 24/7 speak my every thought, even now, read every thing I write, always shocking my heart area causing serious pain on my finger, feet,hands, eyes and private areas.you see one brother came from Phoenix Arizona Ronald. I was homeless living at the volunteer of America building on the dayton veterans administration campus. I was blessed to find a home. Ronald moved in with me to get on his feet and move forward. This was the biggest mistake of my life. In my 57yrs l never experienced this evil illegal crime. I'm a marine corps vet 9yr 50percent disabled. I really need help I, you see l called the police , told him my concern he talked to Ronald. When he came back to me all he said was you were in Beirut during the bombing right ptsd gets worse when you get older. I went to the sheriff's department 3rd district stated my case he said he could do nothing until I died . What !! The dayton police department. I have a whole lot more details to cover but I searched an illegal monitoring stalking mind control electronic shocks hearing subtle voices stalking and harassment is a crime in Ohio. I'm not crazy or giving up. There could be other veterans who suffer from disabilities and may not know this evil illegal crime I, women teens and children and our senior citizens. Please help.
Jojo - 18-Jan-16 @ 10:45 PM
Harassment Act 1997 trust me would not pertain to ant kind of Government .I know that I am being harassed 24/7 the piercing noise the make when they can't see me in my house like the bathroom. So bad now I noticed blood in my ears. The police say since im terminal that I am stressed so no help there. They know abot the program from fast fist
stan - 30-Dec-15 @ 8:58 PM
I am married to a man for 14 yrs we have been together for 22 yrs , we were happy & very much in love up until about a month ago i heard his phone go off while he sleeping that's when i seen he was texting another woman i confronted him & told him to leave i was hurt he has since returned but while we were working on our problems i realized she was still texting him day & night i then asked to stop he said i am only trying to get my money back & out of no where he left again & moved in with her now he also wants my kids to move in with him & i don't think it's healthy for them because he is confused about his feelings & will text me to say he misses me or if i have another man he's never coming back but he can't have both i honestly have had a nervous breakdown i had to be inpatient for depression & he still acts like he doesn't care @ all he has left us without any source of income & i have no one but him & my children if the kids go with him i'm homeless & alone please help me ! I need to know if this is what is real or will he come back as he still says ,,
confused - 29-Dec-15 @ 6:33 PM
tess - Your Question:
I live on a park home site for retired/semi retired (over 50's). After 18mths the empty unit was purchased and "they" moved in. She took a dislike to my ornamental trees and demanded (yes demanded) that I cut them down. The park management told her they are not effecting her and that I can keep them. They then started blocking my path with rubble in sacks. I asked them nicely to move it and received a tirade of bad language about my trees. later that evening they came to my gate at 10.30ish and he threatened me with violence, hope I drop dead etc etc I called the police but requested they log the incident rather than attend. BIG mistake. They have made my life a misery. she shouts abuse at me in the street, I wait until I think they go out before leaving my house. what can I do? I never respond by the way, but keep very quiet and retreat indoors. Park manager is aware but is a personal friend of theirs now so no support. is there anything I can do?

Our Response:
Apart from referring it to the police, there is not a great deal you can do if the park manager is not helpful. Do you have any idea why the neighbour is behaving in this manner?
ProblemNeighbours - 1-Dec-15 @ 2:43 PM
I live on a park home site for retired/semi retired (over 50's). After 18mths the empty unit was purchased and "they" moved in.She took a dislike to my ornamental trees and demanded (yes demanded) that I cut them down. The park management told her they are not effecting her and that I can keep them. They then started blocking my path with rubble in sacks. I asked them nicely to move it and received a tirade of bad language about my trees. later that evening they came to my gate at 10.30ish and he threatened me with violence, hope I drop dead etc etc I called the police but requested they log the incident rather than attend. BIG mistake. They have made my life a misery. she shouts abuse at me in the street, I wait until I think they go out before leaving my house. what can I do? I never respond by the way, but keep very quiet and retreat indoors. Park manager is aware but is a personal friend of theirs now so no support. is there anything I can do?
tess - 30-Nov-15 @ 2:13 PM
I would also like to put that my former partner David also turned a lot of people against me. His son managed to get into my facebook account and started on me slating me etc saying I was never good enough for his dad that I was too young for him I met David over a internet dating site and was with him from 2009 to 2013 I was engaged to him for two years. I cant believe he had turned other people against me I was threatened twice before when I went out to see a friend. He got his mate to threaten me in front of myself and a friend. He told others that I was seeing other guys that I had sex with animals which isn't at all true I am just so hurt I confronted him and he admitted to me that he did this out of spite because he was bored lonely and insecure person. I later found out he did this to his ex wife she managed to get an injunction against him she eventually divorced him. I'm trying to put this behind me and move on but because he lives just half an hour away I find this very hard to deal with. I never once got a explanation or even an apology from him or from his mates. I still see his mates who like to spread things about me and my sister. I don't know what else to do I don't know where his mates live or got their full names I see them regularly when I'm out. Any advice on this would be grateful I'm in tears most days because of these rumors. I'm now turning 35 and never had this problem before splitting up with anyone. I have tried to commit suicide because of stress hurt anger anxiety inside me. Please help thank you
lil81 - 27-Nov-15 @ 2:22 AM
My former partner David who was 26 years older then me started to spread malicious gossip about me and my sister and other members of my family saying that I slept with animals and my sister works as a porn star i have split up from him since 2013 before all of this he put pictures and and other things what we did in bed together on facebook. He also told others what our sex life was like I'm absolutely fuming with him. He is still spreading gossip and rumors about me nearly three years on. I'm sick of this ive already been to the police and reported him to the council over his behaviour. Ive rang the police twice over what he has been saying about me and my family. I'm now suffering from panic attacks high anxiety and stress ive been signed of and now claiming for esa. I even been to citizens advice bureau they told me That i need to see a lawyer. The police officer already gave him three warnings so far. What else can i do. Any advice would be appreciated I'm beyond deverstated That this has happened and he has gone and done this. Thank you for reading this I needed to get this of my chest it deeply hurt's
lil 81 - 27-Nov-15 @ 1:52 AM
At the complex where I work we are allocated 8 parking bays.These bays are constantly being used by 2 other separate tenants within the complex who have allocated parking themselves.however they prefer to use ours.We stick to the instuctions issued by the Landlord in that we do not park in someone elses parking allocation.I have repeatedly asked these other tenants to use their own bays and not ours as we need them for ourselves and clients. They refuse.They have sworn at me, verbally abused me calling me names and on occasion I have been spat at.I am tired of returning to work and not having anywhere to park because of them and I am now quite frightened when I leave the building on an evening (it is winter and dark) in case one of them accosts me.the Landlord has done their best to stop this, to no avail, it is up to the tenants to sort out any dispute between themselves.They have done all they can and I am appreciative of that.However, my health is being affected, I cannot sleep, I worry and am quite literally frightened and try to avoid these people when at all possible.I have tried to reason with them, but they get abusive and now totally ignore my requests to the point where I and my work colleagues sometimes suffer the lack of use of our allocated parking.It may seem trivial but it is affecting me and my work.I am in charge of an office and it is my responsibility.It is now at the point where I do not want to come into work in case anything happens in fact sometimes I am so nervous the night before that I have been literally sick.As an aside, one of the tenants told a colleague (who came to my aid) that he "doesn't know who he is dealing with", which makes me feel more intimidated.Is there something that can be done or is it a case of putting up with it.
Tricia - 25-Nov-15 @ 4:59 PM
My husband Child mother is constantly harassing her he is asked her to leave him alone more than 6 time she constantly sends emails and phone calls however she lives 3 hours away so my question was the courthouse where his custody case is, is 3 hours awaydoes he have to file an injunction in her town or can we go to our local courthouse and file one
Leena - 18-Nov-15 @ 4:34 PM
hi.. im currently in a relationship with my partner, well she had child with a married man years ago but now the only thing they share is a child together,however the childs father is currently married to his first wife and they have 3 children together...but he threatens my partner by telling her thathe will kill her baby and her coz he is old and he has nothing to live for...he dictates in her life, he wanna control her life,well my partner is scared to lay a complain because he has alot of police friends, he even stalks her by being parked not far from her home to see where she going and with whom she going with, she reached a point in life where she cant take it any more.....we are seeking help, please can you tell us what steps to follow and do, because this has to end and i dont want my partner and the baby to be harmed because this man is capable of any thing.
RALPH - 31-Oct-15 @ 11:24 AM
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