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Your Rights Under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 7 Nov 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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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
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
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