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Your Rights Under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 18 Sep 2020 | 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've given up on trying to find a source for me to get help with the harassment and my disregarded right to privacy. I just avoid interaction with anyone outside of my parents and son. This is a cruel world. There are times when I pray for the end of my days as a living person to conclude.
A Cheance in Hell - 18-Sep-20 @ 9:52 AM
Any advice welcome: A boy whose grandparents live next door to me is always there and plays out. He is the same age as my son and every time he is round here he starts trouble and tells the other boys not to be friends with my son and not to play with him.If he does have someone to play with, the other boy just stays near where they are playing causing trouble and trying to start something with my son.He is very aggressive and is told to just punch people and he lies about everything and nothing is ever his fault. There is no point talking to his grandparents, who are near enough my age, because they do nothing and just say ‘they’re all as bad as each other’.He’s a spoilt little bully.Every time he is here my anxiety goes through the roof, I physically shake and literally feel like I’m going to vomit.Is there anything I can do about this situation.
Mad Mary - 14-Sep-20 @ 5:29 PM
I have been harassed by multiple neighbors for the past 2 years since I moved in a small mobile home community, nothings changed to be honest I haven't done anything to make them stop. I figured if I just keep quite and not draw any attention to my self they would get tired of me and leave me alone but I was wrong. This are the kind of people that they would send there own children just to do the deed for them, as if dealing with grown a** adults wasn't enough now I have to deal with there children. Just to clarify what type of torture I've been dealing with, children stalking me everytime I leave and go home, window peeping while I'm asleep, name calling there favorite word they like to use most is STUPID. I really would like to know why I am considered stupid to them and what in he'll did I ever do to deserve this type of treatment. I'm really just seeking any advice things have gotten desperate for me, depression, anxiety and insomnia are playing part in my life now more than ever. I'm moving out next year and I plan on filing a report to the police based on harassment but that's all I have up my sleeve, any advice is help full thanks for reading this long a** paragraph.
Desperate - 8-Sep-20 @ 11:50 PM
I was told I didn't have a case for harassment. But my downstairs neighbour and her mum have been putting complaints into the council and police since lock down. We did have a verbal disagreement on 1st time of meeting her. Where she was giving us dirty looks. Maybe we shouldn't have said anything, but why should we accept that. She's accused my partner of threatening her and calling her names. The next day she then starts howling like an animal at 9pm, which I have video footage of and have now passed it onto the council. We have proceeded to get a phone call from the police, had to make astatement. We've got letters of complaint from the council and now a phone call from council. She has accused my partner of loitering outside her door and following her mother. It's ludicrous. From the beginning it's made me very anxious and I've not wanted to leave my property in fear of having to see her. We haven't made one complaint against them, although they warrent it, dog urine on the stairs for example. These complaints are completely untrue and malicious, we've lived here for 4 years and never had one complaint.. Until they moved in. My 3 year old was also effected by it at the time and be scared by every little noise. I don't know what to do, what if the authorities start to believe these crazy people. I'm scared, anxious and worried.
Lou - 27-Aug-20 @ 8:02 PM
Few of my nieghbourshave harassing me and my familyi feel I cant go out my house pand into my garden without then talking about my family and when i go out my front doorwith my daughterwho is going out with friendshe stands at his front door watchingmy daughterwho is only 10 yrold
caz - 15-Aug-20 @ 4:44 PM
Hi there yes this is quite important to me my mother is disabled I've been harassed daily now aswell as my mother it's been about 10 to 11 months all the threats constantly like smash my teeth out ectr makes me the way I am with an attitude with so many Against the LAW threats towards my mother I have been in contact with the mental health services as I do suffer with unstable emotional personality disorder which one person knew I suffered with a mental health condition in the first place I know there has been trespassing in my mother's house which means someone has broke in and entered as there is cameras in this property that's Against the law isn't it constant threats to arrest me whilst I'm sitting in my own mothers property not breaking any laws but they are constant threats to sedate me and section me which is against the law isn't it threats to just chuck my mother out and put stuff into charity which is against the law isn't it threats to say they will have to move my mother for what others breaking laws that's Against the law isn't it. Well if I'm right I'm not selfish I'd rather my baby left alone and my mother left alone and the whole lot can go to prison
Josie - 7-Aug-20 @ 2:34 PM
My ex’s new wife has reported me to benefits usually twice a year , I’ve recently moved and she knows my next door neighbour who she’s now got spying on me and relaying my every move back to her. She’s reported me again saying I eat takeaway and go shopping while claiming pip and that I get myself kicked out of doctors surgeries for lying about my health (not true) she works in a doctors would she have been able to access my records to see what surgeries I’ve been at ? I’ve also had the police here today as a report that my husband has killed me had come in. How can I make her stop? Please help!!
Tiredofthis - 6-Aug-20 @ 10:48 AM
I have had 4 years of harassment from my neighbour next door. We were quite close friends at first, then I met my partner. She ignored him completely, then started to report us to the Job centre, Housing benefit and other people saying we were living together and that my partner was leaving my house every morning to go to work. He has been disabled for at least 15 years. We were investigated and found innocent. But my neighbour keeps on and on. The thing is, every time she reports her lies they have to investigate each complaint, which is wasting time and money and she knows its not true. We have never lived together and we dont want to. Her husband, who doesnt live with her, has been round here stinking drunk, threatening violence as my partner has been accused of knocking on her bedroom window at night. That was proved to be wrong as he has cctv where he lives and the police looked at it and saw he wasnt at my house the night she said he was banging on her windows. I was threatened by her friend because I was "upsetting her"!! All the harassment and continual accusations, along with her banging doors, Hoovering at 3am, having loud people in and out all the time, even during the Covid 19, she feeds seagulls which has become a real nuisance. I have had 3 cars damaged including my partner's brand new Motobility car which was keyed all down both sides and all 4 tyres slashed, etc etc, has affected my depression and anxiety. The HA wont move me as they say Im "adequately housed". They have ignored letters from my doctor recommending they move me. I have been in tears on the phone to the housing officer, but they dont take your health issues or neighbour disputes into account. It isnt a dispute, its her jealousy and lying. Apparently she's done this sort of thing to people all her life, Ive heard from different people, including her own sister, who has nothing to do with her any more. I have never retaliated on the advice of the police and HA, but I have to endure this behaviour. I am trying to get a mutual exchange which is hard. Our HA has a reputation for being uncaring and mean. So if people know that, who'd want to swap with me? Im stuck in an impossible situation. I have contacted my MP but they werent of much help. I had some help from Victim Support, who were absolutely brilliant, but the Council funding ran out and thats the end of that. Just as I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, it was snatched away from me and I am still here, suffering. I used to love where I live, but this woman has taken it all away from me. It seems that people can do what they like and make other people's lives a misery and get away with it. Its time that was changed. Its no wonder mental health problems are on the increase.
Depressed - 21-Jul-20 @ 11:55 AM
I live in the bottom apartment. I just moved here seven months ago and most of the residents have been here many many many years. The man that lives above me has been here 22 years and is in his nineties. But he stalks me night and day. If I go into the bathroom he's in the bathroom above me if I'm in my kitchen he's in his kitchen. if I'm up at 3:30 in the morning paintng rocks because I have insomnia. He is standing in his apartment hovering over me the whole entire time and I can be there 2 to 4 hours or longer. I've been in apartment situations before but this is abnormal. If I'm in the bathroom for an extended period of time so is he. What is he doing? He's sitting there listening. At first I thought it was just a nosy old woman that lived above me but it creeped me out when I found it was a man because he would sit on his toilet I could hear it while I was bathing it was creepy. Twice, I even pounded on the ceiling with the broom handle and I heard him scurry up off the floor and run into the other room. I have left the manager numerous voicemails and she never responded. Finally, I got in touch with her and she treated it like it was my fault, like I was making it up. I talk to her manager and I didn't get much further. I need this taken care of. I have a stalking injunction filled out, but I need more I fear, I don't think it's going to help? I have had numerous break ins with someone using keys. So much stolen from me and it seems to be coordinated around his stalking. I've had my locks changed many times too, but that hasn't helped. Within days they will be right back in. I can't replace those things I've lost. I don't have any support.
SheShells - 14-Jul-20 @ 9:01 AM
Hi i have a neibor upstair in apt 18f their is she making noise moving furiture around stapping her feet with her shoes on she knows went iam in the living room my bedroom or in my kitchen i have to turn off my cell phone unplugged everything she been stalking me for the longest iam so sick off her for no reason i have not done nothing at all to this tenant i call 311 and police on her also to housing manager iam going to request a tenant hearing i spoke to her very nice i need my peace about 3 weeks ago she just look at me walk away but this has no end to this i need help going to do something about this problem iam donewith this problem
Ms sunshine day - 13-Jul-20 @ 11:30 PM
I would some urgent advice about harassing my family and myself the pills have done nothing I fear for the safety of my family
Bailey - 1-Jul-20 @ 9:39 AM
So scared being harassed and watched by my neighbours for the last 3 months.. I have spoken to the Police twice today..And very upset that they are not taking it seriously your comments have helped a lot..
Veryfrightened - 30-Jun-20 @ 10:55 AM
Need HELP!!! I’m being Tortured and tormented by my neighbors that’s using sonic devices against me. I DONT OWN A DOG!!! WHAT CAN I DO??? DESPERATE!
Lee - 29-Jun-20 @ 10:27 PM
I have a neighbour who has a personal vendetta against me and he is trying to get me evicted he is lying and saying I'm noisy all the time and making his life hell I don't even own a stereo I'm not perfect I have 3 teenagers in my house it can get noisy but nothing like he is describing it to be. my neighbour the other side says she has no issue with me. He is putting pressure on my landlord to evict more or he will take him to court I don't know what to do I'm very worried I will be evicted because my landlord has enough of his complaining I've never had police or council at my house. Any advice would be greatly appreciated Thanks
Bubbyd - 29-Jun-20 @ 3:25 PM
I live down stairs from a council employee, her husband and adult daughter.they have made my life a misery since I arrived.they had me investigated for fraud when I was unemployed, reported me for all sorted and now 19 years later she had begun to throw cigarette butts into my garden. I've had enough I am caring for two terminally ill family members which they know about and still it continues.i had to call the police a couple of years ago because they refused to fix a leak that was pouring into my hall and the police took their side because she works for the council.its a living hell
Stella - 26-Jun-20 @ 10:40 PM
I live in an apartment building with 11 other apartments. Inlikenthenarea a lot. They apartments where I live at rating has gone down since I moved in 6 years ago. I’m being bullied by the young couple and their roommates since the day after we moved in April this year. It started with hard banging the second day after our move. I live with my family. These neighbors have multiple people coming and going out of their apartment. I don’t care about that. I complained about the banging and the bulling escalated to power tools being used on the ceiling night and day. I’m getting no sleep. Now they will not make the horrible noises near my family, just me. It’s an older building with thin walls and floors. You can hear someone walking, so of course you can hear a drill pulse feel the vibrations. They know the property management will not do anything about it. My room is over the building hallway and right now they have the drill directly under me in the hallway no one can see them. It also give off little electric shocks that goes directly to my heart. I had am TIA mini stroke 12 years ago and make sure I keep my stress level down. If I bang back it escalates I try so heard not to, but I can take it. Why are they supposed to get away with this. Don’t let me get up and use the bathroom making these thin floors squeak they go crazy banging on the ceiling in the bathroom. I was cleaning the kitchen this evening and they put the mixer on the ceiling at 9 pm. What can I do to move out and not be charge for breaking my lease. It’s escalating so much, they are doing some really crazy stuff and I’m afraid for my life. Please someone send me some legal advice. Please help this bullying is becoming more drastic and they blow smoke into my open window It’s not cigarettes or weed. I don’t feel safe here anymore. This is too much for me and I’ll have a heart attack or stroke because of it.
foxxyj64 - 18-Jun-20 @ 5:48 AM
i feel compelled to share with you my situation that has been plaguing my and my autistic sons life for three years now. i am a nurse and work long hours, i also live in a council property that i have spent a lot of money on, i am also a designer and have created a nice back garden for my son and i to use. new neighbours moved in approx three years ago..on day one at 9am there was deafeningly loud music that wok me up after a long shift at work. it was downhill from there, every day has been awful. drilling at 1am shouting and smoking drugs in the back garden all night.. my son cannot use his bedroom. lots of social gatherings during this lockdown, things being smashed. after sometime i knocked hoping for a solution but i was shouted off the doorstep and threatened, in despair i have contacted environmental health at waltham forest council. they advised me to keep a noise diary which i have completed and returned, not hearing anything about it or what the next step should be. i have approached the neighbours to try to sort the situation out but they called the police.i have had sugar and excrement thrown into my garden and they have had two letters from the council about the noise. i am at a loss, nobody seems to care and i cry a lot. my lovely little home has become my prison. if i dont see them i hear them every day. my son is experiencing nightmares, he wants to leave here. if i am taking every step that i possibly can and they are still turning my life upside down what can i do, some advice is needed.
v - 13-Jun-20 @ 9:27 PM
Since we moved to Our house our neighbouris making our lives impossible . She is making noise in the middle of the night , knocking at walls to attract attention but all this at two in the morning for no reason but the house in the other side as well so much so since we been here living the next door house to her will be the fourth family that they move in let see how long they last with her. She get paranoid at midnight start bunging her entrance door and swearing to no one . All neighbourhood do not like her and we want to get rid of this neighbourhood . She follows all our movements so we do not have privacy in our own house. Any help please???.
Xnera - 10-Jun-20 @ 2:09 PM
Our neighbour has been asked by my partners ex to keep her informed of what goes on in our house and anything about our relationship. She is meeting up with my partners ex and making lies up about stuff. Is there anything I can do about this? Is it an invasion of privacy? Can I involve the police?
Em - 2-Jun-20 @ 4:33 PM
My neighbours have been breaking into our house since upstairs one moved in around seven months ago .Was told I would be set up as a paedo by previous neighbour if I got evidence what she was doing to us.Its her friend that moved above us now our house lock started to get open two days after she moved in.These neighbours have been in and out our property.
Cath - 31-May-20 @ 6:28 AM
The next door neighbour looks into our side windows all the time. She sees who's in the house. We covered our windows to block her view and this made her agree and said just because I can't see in I can still hear you. She as always been very nosey but this is making me ill. I have a brain tumor and the stress makes me have seizures.
Nick - 30-May-20 @ 10:25 PM
There is a man and wife who i no to look at... They deliberately laugh at me every time they pass me and I don't no what to do about it.
Lily - 28-May-20 @ 8:37 PM
Would lieing about your death by convincing multiple mutual friends to lie for you be classed as harassment due to the distressing nature of it?
2009 - 15-May-20 @ 1:36 AM
Help, we had issues with our neighbour he's council, we own. He has harassed our family for 4 yrs. He's verbally shouts abuse at my husband, calls us names, has fires, bangs, plays loud music, stomps up and down stairs, walks past the house in an imtimadating manner, knocks on the walls at all hours of the day/night., has threatened to kill, put petrol in our letter box. Calls the police on us for having a bbq, says we call him names which we don't. We have all our stuff on cctv. But anti social, police and housing dismiss it all because he has mental health issues, so it's fine to give us so much mental stress, harassment, and upset in our familys life because he has issues.If he had that much issues why is he living in a council 3 bed semi on his own.I have no faith in local authoritys or police.They say their hands are tied. Come on we pay tax what for!!! I have 6 yrs worth of diaries, anti social, I have fabulous cctv of what he's like.We feel drained.Nobody wants to help us, we want him moved out and shut up.
K50 - 12-May-20 @ 7:16 PM
My issue is with neighbour and children invasion of privacy.The neighbour has a very large garden and has put a trampoline near to our garden border so when it is used by their teenagers they can see into my home.If i’m sitting at my dining table, cooking or doing anything in my kitchen they’re there right in my face. I live on my own,my partner of 40 years passed away in January 2020 and having to deal with this and now i can’t even have any privacy in my own home to come to terms with my loss and grieving process,i don’t need this aggravation and upset,
Globetrotter - 26-Apr-20 @ 6:38 AM
My neighbours in flat downstairs since they moved in downstairs done nothing but take. Firstly they used my garden and left rubbish. Secondly theydid illegal repairs on their rented property and the builders trespassed in garden. Thirdly her boyfriend abuse me for looking out my window which overlooks their garden. Fourthly she write note with are nasty and put them in my letterbox. They have angry arguments which I hearinfront of their four year old child
Loo - 25-Apr-20 @ 2:06 AM
My neighbour has had it I for us for the past 4 years, been neighbours for 9 years, only swapped the odd hello. I’m a busy mum to three boys, worked. My husband a farmer works long hours. One of my sons has autism. Now she became aggressive over a shared septic tank which is on her land but when we moved she asked if my husband knows anything about them as she had no clue (the house we bought was her brothers and he had previously took care of it). My husband did know about them an it was agreed that he would keep it running and cost for repairs would be split equally. One year her loo got blocked, ours didn’t and without communication from her she bought equipment for its repair and got her boyfriend to install it then billed us for it. We said we were not paying for work carried out without our consent or even a chance to sort it( her loo was backing up because she blocked it from in her house that’s why ours was ok,not an actual problem with the tank itself. We also said as the issue was not identified by ourselves or a professional then we were not prepared to pay the cost as we didn’t have a problem. Whilst my husband was at work over the next few weeks she sent her adult son over to my house who walked straight in to my house without inviting him and stood close to me and made threats, I had my young children at home and I was very uncomfortable, he did this twice but never did when my husband was home. She plays her music incredibly loud to intimidate us all and recently she had family over for visits during the Covid 19 and she verbally insulted my intelligence, my home called me everything under the sub and said she isn’t finished with me yet, all addressed to me not my husband. I don’t know why it’s me that’s getting the abuse I really don’t. It’s effecting my disabled child who has melt downs due to the overwhelming loudness (which I have Videos of) and it’s causing my heart rate to go through the roof! We want to try for a baby but frequent amounts of adrenaline can harm baby in the first trimester so it’s risky. It’s so unfair and it’s life changing for us. We have never had support from councils or police and I don’t know why. We have boughtrecently cctv cameras which has made me feel really sad as we live in a rural community and are part of that and get along with everyone but her. It makes no sense. You can not like someone without being aggressive...I’m not liking her but I have not responded to her that way, I’ve followed the law but I have nothing in return.
Nel - 14-Apr-20 @ 11:05 AM
Hi I’m hoping someone can guide me please. It’s regarding an incredibley nosey neighbours who continually invade my partners and I privacy. They are an older couple in their 60s who live above us who watch us as we enter and leave our property , have a camera overlooking my back garden. We often hear them explaining to the other as they watch from the what we’re doingwhen we have workmen, friends and family over. It’s getting difficult and I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve tried explaining this to them but it’s no good. Any guidance would be much appreciated thank you
Lane - 3-Apr-20 @ 5:19 PM
I'm a nurse been at the address for 25 years...never had any problems with this 3 neighbors...two of them moved at the same time...but the last one like 2 years ...the problem my husband collect classic cars and we had 4 parked in our close drive way...my husband has 2 cars that he has park out my daughter one and my car...see we would park out cars on the street because we drive them only one we leave parking They think they own the street...one lady crossed the street to my house and said bad words and second time toke my phone from my hand..the times when i come home from work tired...what can we do...how can help us...I call the cops but they laugh tell me there jealous of what we have. All three neighbors call the city to let them know that we have all these cars of course we had to get rid of the cars the classics thank God they did that for us because now my husband's going to fix them and bring him back running. So they're coming back I'll paint it and back and my driveway. If anyone could help I would really appreciate it
Letty - 7-Mar-20 @ 12:59 AM
Any advice, lived next to neighbours for over two years with no problems,last year they started to copy things we were getting for the garden.we bought things , they would buy the same. Because I have parkinsons my son bought me a arbour for the garden for me to sit in, since then the neighbours have stopped speaking to us, they have complained to the council that our tv is to loud, that our dogs bark out of control,they also complained about our wild life camera on the bird table, all this after two years of nothing. What can i do, they stare through our Windows and peep over the fence.
Arnie - 11-Feb-20 @ 6:56 PM
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