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Your Rights Under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 Feb 2021 | 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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A neighbour has complained after only living in my new flat 4 months! He told us the day that I moved in that he 'hoped we weren't as noisy as the last lot?' and another neighbour wished us luck when they heard that we had moved in above this guy. This is because there have been 3 tennants in 2 yrs prior to myself. All have moved due to'complaints' / 'harrassment'. I have received a letter from my landlord informing me of an investigation into the accusation of myself 'breaching my tenancy agreement'. The accusations being of unreasonable noise from music, the dog and late night visitors. I am retired and in remission from cancer leaving me with health issues. These being mobility mainly. I have a carer attend. I have moved away from family and friends plus it's covid so apart from 3 occasions there haven't been any visitors at all!!! Let alone "late night"!!! I admit that the dog barked at the fireworks and when I initially moved in she barked at unfamiliar noises. I would not say excessively or unreasonable. I repeat, I have only been at the property for 4 months! He complained about the noise by way of shouting up the stairs initially and then banging on the ceiling. This shocked me the first time when I had put the radio on while I was in the bath at 4pm! Exactly, I'm not silent but I would consider myself to be reasonable and definitely not making loud noise before 7am or after 11pm! I don't play music every day and I don't have any visitors apart from my carer! I have realized that I am confining myself to my room out of fear of confrontation. How do I proove that I am being reasonable? How do I proove that he is bullying and harassing?
Naomi247 - 22-Feb-21 @ 5:32 AM
I'm getting Harassed by neighbours every time they see me they even shout at me in the town n Street what can i do as they definitely don't want to be neighbours.
King - 21-Feb-21 @ 1:44 PM
My neighbours are two French sisters who moved to London to study medicine. One of the sisters appears to be unstable and her behaviour towards me is cause for increasing alarm. My house is a mews property, and to one side is a passageway leading to shared courtyard garden which is where the entrance to my two neighbouring properties is located. My external walls forms part of the passageway and contains a window into my kitchen. To the front of my house, where the internal garage once stood, is three large floor to ceiling glass panel, each panel is privacy controlled by an electricity switch. At night my neighbour has started loitering outside my window. I will hear her front door open but the gate exiting onto the mews isn't opened and I can see her shadow through the glass. She usually waits for 30 minutes before going back inside her property. She does this every night, it can happen from 10pm through until 5am. At other times she will shine a laser pen light through the front of the property, she's capable of does so because her property protrudes mine and on her first floor she has a balcony. On several occasions, when my car is parked on the mews opposite my property I can see her reflection from the windows of my car.She has recently started knocking on my windows or dragging an object (keys) across my window at night. One occasion I needed to pop out to a local 24hr grocery store, as I returned I found her peering through my window, as i approached she realised I had seen her and she rushed into her garage which is on the front ground floor of her property. A new occurrence is her making a noise by dragging something across her sitting room floor on the first floor, she does this if I make any noise whatsoever, by this I mean if I turn on a tap of close a window. It's as though she believes I'm making a noise intentionally, I'm not, but even the slightest noise and she being a ritual of dragging something across her floor for up to an hour after the original noise. I'm a hospital doctor, I work long and usual hours, but whatever time of night I return home the aforementioned events begin. This has been ongoing for over six months, I'm at a loss to understand why she's behaving in this manner, the cause of it, or what she might gain from doing it. I want her behaviour to stop, it has started to cause me stress which is impacting my ability to rest / sleep. I have remained silent durung her nightly activities as I'm concerned about confronting her without having witnesses present. Her behaviour is such that I fear she has the propensity to manipulate the truth, it is this concern, and my complete lack of tangible evidence, that has deterred me from altering the authorities. It would come down to my word against hers. Am I doing the right thing by remaining silent? I have considered selling and moving to a new area, but I was very happy living here before she moved next door. I would be most grateful for any advice you can offer
ABC - 13-Feb-21 @ 10:41 PM
I had a neighbour move in next door, unfortunately I share a dividing wall. This person is mentally unstable and seems obsessed with everything I do including tv shows I watch and even gets upset when he can hear me walking around. As I said mental. He likes to annoy me with slamming doors repeatedly and up until recently, when I called the police after he threatened me with a baseball bat, verbal abuse I could hear through the wall. After he knocked on my door late at night, I knocked on his door with no answer. Gutless. It's all a bit wired. Police took his side because I had a few drinks, and he lied his arse off saying I was paranoid. It's very hard to get evidence.
Jono - 31-Jan-21 @ 7:45 AM
I have this neighbour who likes to be in your business and likes to mess around with your child she was in the garden and he was calling her name 5 times she is 8 and he looks 60 what is funny about that, please I have also noticed he likes to intimidate women but when a man is calling he says nothing should I report to the police.
S - 19-Jan-21 @ 1:36 PM
Just over the past few days my mates uncle has been saying that my family on Christmas Day was slagging her off an as far as I am aware I wasn’t an there wasn’t but he has told her we was.. them he heard a conversation between me an her an thought I was slagging his mum off which I wasn’t..no he saying stuff to about me.. yes next I don’t get on with are now involved as they have slagged me off an him..they say I Liston to them as my tv sound is going so I have to turn it then it goes loud then turn it down.. now they are saying they will come round.. I have a old dog who barks they kick off about that all the time.. but when I first moved in I had to put up with loud music..banging on the wall which set my dog of an they use to laugh with there mates when pissed up..both side off me have or did play music all the time one still does but I don’t never had a bloody party in my house in the 3 years I been here.. but I turn my tv up they tv I put a bit of music on they bang on my wall my dog barks they kick off but others do it it’s fined.. I really hate living here now an want to move...
Tricia - 7-Jan-21 @ 12:40 PM
Hello, Please help me. I’m currently living in a ground floor flat with my family. Above us is a police officer with her partner , now things between us are bad. But for us it’s real bad!! We’ve had the officer drunk at our door flashing his please badge at us, we’ve had him laughing and jumping asking our Children, we’ve recently been told he trying to find away of getting my family into trouble with the law and involving 3rd parties. He keeps getting away with it all. He’s now claiming that we are harassing him by reporting every issue to our housing. What do I do? He’s already braking lock down rules and lying about it and has already lied to the POLICE about it.
PoliceHME202021 - 3-Jan-21 @ 11:04 PM
I am a working professional and moved into my current property five years ago. Unbeknownst to me i was not informed by the housing provider that my neighbours had an active asbo case against them and were being pursued in the courts by their other neighbours. If I had been made aware if this I would not of moved into the property. The last five years of my life has been hell, my son and I have witnessed physical fights initiated by these peoplewe hear domestic violence all of the time, screaming, swearing constantly. I of course had to report the violence and since then they have relentlessly pursued me in a manner which I can only describe as disgusting. These people do not work, drink, take drugs and have no respect for those who live beside them. My other neighbours are as beaten down with them as I am. They spread malicious gossip about my character and I have had no choice but to make arrangements to move. I want to pursue legal action after I have moved is this something I can still do and how do I go about this?
Cs - 29-Dec-20 @ 10:57 PM
We have been suffering from harassment from upstairs neighbour, Loud Music drug use for 6 years. North Tyneside Council fails to do anything About this
Ron - 24-Dec-20 @ 1:24 PM
My neighbor who I’ve had no relationship with since her family has moved in found me on a neighborhood watch as I was seeking someone to hire to shovel my driveway. I am a disabled senior and a widow and keep to myself.This neighbor began hostile accusations about myself and my late husband accusing me of calling police on my neighbors and then posted private information about a small claims case my late husband and I had years ago against the seller of the home stating we lost.I am concerned living alone since there are many people and children living in close proximity in a mobile park. She stated things obvious she was watching my deliveries and that my car wasn’t here good luck with getting help laughing. I don’t know what I should do. I can’t sleep and I’m concerned with her mental stability.
Journey65 - 21-Dec-20 @ 7:40 AM
My neighbours think I want them and their is no way in hell I like them theee weirdos FN hate us ,,, problem need to move asap
Lisa - 12-Dec-20 @ 2:39 PM
I have neighbours that want us to move out do badly that they yell name call insult us and fat talk us all day / night ....we don't want to stay here .
Lise - 12-Dec-20 @ 2:32 PM
I get assaulted by a 62 year old bodybuilder with bad colitis who doesn't admit there's anything wrong with him. He actually stalked me on foot,and acted as a guardian of sorts, also being given authority over custodial visits with my daughter?! For one thing, he has NO business picking on my family, lying about me, and presenting himself as nice. I am trying to leave his abuse and the neighbors yell at me as if I did something wrong. WTF.
Billie - 9-Dec-20 @ 2:03 PM
I'm getting harassment all the time from neighbour over road always swearing at me and accusing me off reporting her for things but it's not me doing.she a friend off another person who loves above me in a block of four flats who's made my life hell for last five years reports me for everything tries to control my life saying what l can and can't do in my home.shouts and swears tells me to get to bed at 9pm can't watch TV or have any friends around .I'm like a prisoner in my own home he's always watching and listening to every move l make and follows me if l go out anyway.im thinking about ending my life.
Shelli - 28-Nov-20 @ 10:50 PM
Story time I go around my friends house the neighbor keeps telling them that I'm dealing drugs in front of their house it's gotten so bad that my friend's mom doesn't even allow me over there anymore I can't far I can't pick her up I have to pick her up at the corner but I was living there and he went and told her mother that he caught me on camera duffle bags. Out of her brother's car and throwing them into a passing by car in the back windows car would never stop by would just toss the black duffel bag or drugs into his car while it was moving and then he proceeded to tell them that at two 3 a.m. I was walking down the street and he knows he seen me past drugs and money around and I've already proven this part wrong because that's a given time he said I was doing this I was talking to her brother in his room he was playing the guitar for me so even though I do have the story wrong her mother believed it and kicked me out but I only did I lose my place of living almost off my best friend and no every time I go to pick her up if she has me waiting a little bit and you know females they have you waiting he goes and tells the mom that he seen me passing drugs and I'm selling drugs at the front of his house and he thinks this and thinks that I know he's got the other neighbors saying the same thing never pass drugs there I've never dealt drugs are I've never had solso bags full of drugs cuz believe me if I did. She's at the rich how to be a lot of a lot of drugs I don't know what to do about this I can't ever even Park and wait for her while she gets ready I always have to be on my toes cuz he's always on his camera pointed at me as soon as I pull up 630 is camera watching Every Move I Make and he goes and tells them these things but yet when the mom went over there and ask him to see video footage he all of a I said and choked up up and said that his camera don't record every time the mom ask for proof he don't have it all the sudden you don't know what I'm talking about but now he's got the other neighbors saying the same thing no I can't even go and pick her up I have to pick her up down the street at the park what do I do about this I mean his stuff got me kicked out of the only place I had to live Charlie know I'm homeless I sleep in my car now because I got kicked out and I have no money to get nowhere to live now show me kicked out all I have is my car note so when I go to pick up my friend I can't even go there now what do I do about it how do I make it stop is this legal can you do this
Shy - 7-Nov-20 @ 8:18 PM
For the last eight years after moving in with my partner I have been persecuted by someone in our road. This person took an instant dislike to me who knows nothing about me has put it about that I’m a nonse. This person goads other people and has turned all against me. Sick of it all. Has made me feel completely numb inside.
Fatboy - 5-Nov-20 @ 4:54 AM
My daughter & partner bought their first floor flat some 3 years ago.Unfortunately, the neighbour downstairs has complained about the noise they apparently make. She has also insisted that they replace their present underlay & carpet!(This was laid by the previous owners as they too were told by herto do this,) every time my daughter goes out or comes back she is there twitching at her curtains. What can she do??
DIB - 25-Oct-20 @ 6:43 PM
For six years I have experienced persecution from bullying Anti-social behaviour stalking harassment property damage mental abuse rubbish from bin bags card board boxes human and animal excrement on my car back gate and front garden. Property damage to roof of my house guttering tiles. Damage from letters phone calls from collective harassment involving other neighbours acquaintances and property owners. My car scratched dented smashed ....hate crime because of beingChristian....called mental stalked and followed every time I come out of my house. This has prevented me from having a life or business at my property constant antisocial behaviour by many people that is so subtle to others they would not even .know. My bike tyre was slashed at the front of my house .... I have had my plants poisoned in my back court yard the poison makes the plant white and dead where it has been poisoned leaving the rest green. Roof tiles smashes guttering damaged roof tiles left off to damage my walls in my house. 7 other people are also harassing me with anti social behaviour because he gives them flowers or pays them to deliver flowers for him... amazing how cheep people sell themselves out for a bunch of flowers.... while I am unable to sleep in my property or run my business. They even constantly harassed me when they all knew both my parents were dying in hospital constant phone calls that my drains were leaking into their property.... saying my drains were flooding their cellar (they knew it was caused by the rain as it had for years)... It had always flooded that cellar part of York always flooding but they blamed my drains over and over for two years..... I had them tested by my insurance the drains were fine nothing wrong with my drains....they extent to what people will do to destroy someone. My plants were stolen from the front of the house
Christa - 24-Oct-20 @ 1:04 PM
I'm having a problem with a neighbor who breaks into my Wi-Fi, Direct, and my Ring device. I called all of them and they all stated call the police. I did and they told me there is nothing they could do. I'm afraid as he is Brandon Rush, a Meth head so I'm afraid what he will do next.
Terri - 23-Oct-20 @ 11:31 PM
I was attacked by someone who lives on my estate. He and his partner have been threatening since my friend became her neighbour. My friend has learning difficulties, as do I and my partner who also has physical disabilities. My friend has become like a recluse in my home as she’s scared to go home. She has begun self harming and her mental state is deteriorating. I was assaulted and the police said he got a caution for 6 years. Don’t understand why justice has presented itself in this way
Ad - 12-Oct-20 @ 12:12 AM
My neighbors dogs destroyed my garden, and she was making fun of my 11 year old daughter that ADHD. She always offends her and me . My daughters feel depressed and so do I what do I do about it?
Maria Del Carmen - 10-Oct-20 @ 5:45 AM
I have a neighbor living on the first floor under me. She ownes her condo. I rent mine. She's constantly talking nasty to me about anything I do and constantly complains about my dogs. She calls my landlord on me...i don't bother her. I caught her in a lie that she accused me of something I did to her porch and I went downstairs and look at it there was nothing there. She tried to stop me from taking a picture of her porch with nothing on it.. There's a man who lives next door to her who's harnessed me on and off for years because I refused to get involved with him. He gets my neighbor under me to harness me.. I called the police once when they were tormenting my dog and the cop said if I call again we will both go to jail.I'm 70 yrs old and disabled I can't get help a d an constantly upset. Someone was coming I. My house when I go to the store and steal things...i think it was them. I reported the theft to the police but couldn't accuse them cause I have no proof...i don't know what to do. It's hard to move. I have 2 dogs little money and it's not easy to find a safe place for a 70 yr old disabled woman with 2 dogs.I just don't know what to do. I tried being nice. I tried being quiet. I have kept my dogs inside..and she still harressed with him standing outside watching and laughing...i just don't know.
Vicki - 6-Oct-20 @ 5:13 AM
I have been harassed fir over 4 yrs. All i ever did was ask her to stop slamming doors and her dog from barking all the time. I've had to call the police on her on several occasions, yesterday being one of them. Her newest move to report other dog owners in the estate and then say that it has been me. Can't understand why when someone mks you feel this depressed and fearful the police are unable to do anything. Telling someone they won't be living in the estate for much longer is a threat. Turning folk against you has to be a form of bullying. Very sad world we live in.
M3l - 30-Sep-20 @ 1:23 PM
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
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