Harassment occurs when someone causes you alarm or distress. An injunction is a civil court order that either:
Prevents a person from doing something
Requires a person to do something
If a person is being harassive, it is possible to apply to the courts for an injunction to stop them from doing it again. Once that injunction has been made, it is an offence if they do not stop harassing you and the offender can be prosecuted for it in the criminal court (even if the injunction was made in the civil court). The courts do not grant injunctions without strong reason- they are very draconian measures that the courts need to be persuaded are really necessary.
If you have suffered financial or emotional loss because of the harassment, the courts can also award compensation.
Harassment is both a criminal offence and a civil action under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, meaning that a potential offender may be liable for harassment in the criminal court, or subject to an action against them in the civil court.
Harassment is behaviour made against a person that causes distress, alarm, humiliation, or the feeling of being threatened. It can be made by someone known to the victim, or by a stranger. It can take the form of:
Written contact (such as texts or emails)
Visits to the victim’s home or workplace
Specific actions that cause the victim to feel frightened
Clients often ask how you get an injunction against someone that is harassing you. The harassment needs to have occurred in the last six years. You must have experienced two incidents or more by the same person or group of people for the above sort of behaviour to potentially constitute harassment, and to be able to make an application for injunctive relief. The court will then decide if that behaviour qualifies for an injunction, by determining whether the reasonable person would think that the behaviour amounts to harassment.
There is no power of arrest attached to a harassment injunction, however, if the injunction is breached then a warrant of arrest can be sought from the criminal courts.
If an injunction has been made against you, you must not break it. It is a criminal offence to break a harassment injunction without reasonable excuse, and you could be liable for a term of up to five years in prison, or a fine, or both, if you do.
The information on this website is intended as a guide and does not constitute legal advice. Vardags do not accept liability for any errors in the information on this website, nor any losses stemming from reliance upon the statements made herein. All articles and pages aim to reflect the legal position at time they were published, and may have been rendered obsolete by subsequent developments in the law. Should you require specialist advice, tailored to your situation, please see how Vardags can help you.