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How to deal with an hostile ex

The break-down of a relationship is seldom easy. It is an extremely distressing time and emotions run high. In some cases, exs can engage in unacceptable behaviour, whether this be through harassment, hacking or false allegations of misconduct. In such a scenario, it is essential that you are able to respond appropriately.

What to do if your ex is harassing you

People react to a break up in odd and varied ways and most people look back feeling slightly embarrassed about how they handled ourselves at one point or another. But what is important to recognise what behaviour is acceptable and appropriate.

Newspapers have reported on exs bombarding their former partners with texts, Whatsapp and Facebook messages. There are everyday instances of individuals turning up at their ex-partners place of work, their local Waitrose or the bar which they have just checked into on Instagram. This of course, is extremely intimidating.

So what can be done?

  1. Block their number from your phone and from all social media.
  2. Keep strict social media security.
  3. Turn off location settings on social media.
  4. Keep a record of all the calls and messages received (the more evidence the better).
  5. Consider instructing a solicitor in gaining an injunction. 
  6. Call the police. They are a good port of call as they take these complaints extremely seriously.


How to protect your personal and financial information

You will be surprised by how much access your ex-partner has to your money and your data. Have you ever used your card on their Amazon Prime account? Or sent a photograph of your passport when they checked you into a flight? Ever tell them the name of your childhood dog (which is your go-to answer to any security question)?

Whilst technology has made everyday life notably easier, a tech-savvy ex-partner can take advantage of the data you have provided to steal and commit fraud.

So what can be done?

  1. Change your passwords.
  2. Keep an eye on all your bank accounts.
  3. Check your emails to see if any purchases have been made.
  4. If you have any suspicions alert your bank and order new cards. 

What to do if your ex-partner is threatening to release private images?

Ex partners have been known to threaten, or to send out, photographs and videos, taken by an ex-partner long ago in the belief they would be kept private, to colleagues, parents, and friends. Simply to get back at them or for financial gain. The widespread use of smartphones has unfortunately accelerated this trend and the lockdown period saw a significant increase in what is known as revenge porn.

So what can be done?

  1. Deal with it quickly. Make your lawyer aware of what has happened; they will be able to advise and support you.
  2. Remember its a crime. The number of revenge porn offences reported to police in England and Wales had more than doubled since 2015 with a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.
  3. If they are asking for money, do not pay; they will only ask for more.
  4. Consider whether you are being blackmailed. Contact your solicitor or the police.


What to do if your ex-partner is making false allegations?

At the end of a relationship, hurtful and damaging allegations can be made.

Perhaps the allegations are nonsense; perhaps they are half-truths. Whatever it is, a reputation-damaging allegation can affect your private and public life. The most serious allegations, those of a sexual or violent nature, can have a devastating impact on all areas of your life.

What do you do?

  1. Dont take these allegations lightly; contact your solicitor and let them know what has happened. Your solicitor will be able to give you comprehensive advice on any potential defamation claim and create an escalation strategy to protect you, your family and your business.
  2. Do not speak to your ex until you have gained some advice; you think it will fix it, but it can easily make things worse.
  3. Keep an eye on social media; see whether they are making allegations online. 
  4. If you do speak to them, remember always stay calm, stay polite, stay confident.

Whether you are facing defamation in the press, by an individual, harassment, blackmail, mishandling of your private data, pre-publication threats, or you wish to gain top legal advice on such matters, reach out to our leading reputation and privacy team today. 

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