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

Your Rights Under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Jun 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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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
Ian disabled family next door but one taught thier daughter to call me names woman next door taught grandson to call me monster anyway two years Orr more next door got rented family up road with this woman started squirting me lighting barbecues telling me to get out my garden family up roadfoster caters got really bad lastyearcouldn't go in garden even started on my dogwe'll eventually I told woman next door she could help pay for fence her son kicked holes in to stop my and hers fighting she went nuts her mother sent the policerndstarted againabout six weeks ago one my cats keeps going missing which she's threatened to stealnow it appears the foster parents appear to be building a largebuilding in thier garden without planingputting Aali theservices insulation in So presume they can put more single mothers I thier would like to get planning in de valing my propertynot that would b able to sale it can't see front room windows next door for brambles etc they grown over them only our side back andfrontdon't really think these people should not foster feel life not worth livingHut
Stressed - 11-Jun-16 @ 1:47 AM
hey I'm having the same problem like Anne it's so,Stressfull and and so tired call the police cuz of my neighbor and her loud music but seems I video everytI'm she puts the music has a pruff in case she takes me to court ... not the one that's wrong it's me I can't video her when shes saying bad stuff .... this got Me so stressed so nervous I don't even let my kids go and play outside cuz of her been outside saying same bad comment or with the music loud ... I REALLY NEED HELP !! police won't help me even do they heare and see the video of her and her loud music and her saying stuff....
mini - 9-Jun-16 @ 1:49 PM
Hi, I have a neighbor who recently came out of prison after a long sentence. Every time I see him in the communal area, he will say something sexual, how beautiful I am and other flirtatious things. I keep saying to him, I am married and he shouldn't talk to me like that, but that does not stop him. Sometimes when I have large stuff or shopping, regardless of how reluctant I am, he insists that he will help me and will run of with the shopping, but I hate to let him into my house and always ask him to leave it outside. I am a single mum with little baby, and his presence is really stressing me out. I don't even know what he did, whether he is rapist, murderer, etc and now I am finding it difficult to sleep sometimes as I fear he will break into my flat and my mind keeps playing games with me at night, hearing things and fearing him. I dhave not know what to do and how to report it to.
Jez - 6-Jun-16 @ 9:27 PM
louise - Your Question:
Hi I really need some advice, im really struggling and I really dont know what to do anymore. I have been in and out of court with my ex partner and I have got full residency of our children but I have been given set days/nights to make the children available for him to contact with them, during holidays I agreed in court that we can share the holidays equally only this time he has refused to bring them home (this isnt the first time) after sending lots of horrible nasty text messages to me. I put up with 8 years of emotional and physical abuse from him and he finds it hilarious that I tried to take my own life (8years ago) whilst suffering really bad depression (caused by him). We currently have a family support worker involved at school where we have meetings, the children are still on half term and I dont have a contact number to contact them. Can the police do anything regarding the text messages? He hasnt actually threatened me but he is harrassing me and I feel he is trying to break me like he did 8years ago. I cant go back to that state. I have come so far in these 8 years and I am so much of a stronger person now. I think the police wont do anything

Our Response:
Do you have a relative or friend who can give you some emotional support while you sort out the practicalites? Please try not to allow this kind of bullying behaviour to get the better of you. If the court agreed equally shared holidays, then your ex is breaking the court order by keeping hold of the children. Citizen's Advice will be able to offer you support if the police are refusing to do anything and your local council should have the number of your family support worker or someone else who can help. Are you able to contact the children at all? If so, take some solace from the fact that they are safe and know you love them etc.
ProblemNeighbours - 3-Jun-16 @ 10:46 AM
My new neighbour. Who's moved in is bullying me and getting my neighbours on her side when I went upstairs. To come. Front her about something. She came right up agens my face with her matie to time date me and she push me towards the corner with her matie I told her to get out my face I even shuved her out my way I tried to walk away from her but she followed me I was on the top on the stares about to walk down and she kick me hard I stumbled I turned round and look at her and she was laughing. At me .i phone up the police and told them and they said to me that it was assault. And it wasn't serous. .
kimmycam27 - 2-Jun-16 @ 9:14 PM
Hi i really need some advice, im really struggling and i really dont know what to do anymore. I have been in and out of court with my ex partner and I have got full residency of our children but i have been given set days/nights to make the children available for him to contact with them, during holidays i agreed in court that we can share the holidays equally only this time he has refused to bring them home (this isnt the first time) after sending lots of horrible nasty text messages to me. I put up with 8 years of emotional and physical abuse from him and he finds it hilarious that i tried to take my own life (8years ago) whilst suffering really bad depression (caused by him). We currently have a family support worker involved at school where we have meetings, the children are still on half term and i dont have a contact number to contact them. Can the police do anything regarding the text messages? He hasnt actually threatened me but he is harrassing me and i feel he is trying to break me like he did 8years ago. I cant go back to that state. I have come so far in these 8 years and i am so much of a stronger person now. I think the police wont do anything
louise - 2-Jun-16 @ 12:45 PM
My mother own family her own sister is harassing her everyday for unusual things which are not at all linked to my mom and when my mom don't want to have any kind of relation with her they start harassing more and more ......yesterday this harassment and mental torturer was very high they cross all the limits by hitting my mom very hard my aunt daughter hit my mom in our house through which now she is hospitalized now i just want to know is their any kind of law act which can protect my mom to not be repeated the same once again
Rijju - 30-May-16 @ 4:32 AM
Please help me some one is harassing me but doing it by the police it's been going on for 2 and a half years I don't know where to turn I've tried everything I'm hoping someone may have some information on here that can help me
simone - 29-May-16 @ 9:36 AM
My neighbour is making threats towards me. I can hear her through the wall. Problem is I have a mental illness and think no one will believe me. It is very distressing. She is definitely saying things. How can I deal with it.
Beau - 28-May-16 @ 8:04 AM
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
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