In some cases, the victim and the perpetrator live close to each other, often as neighbours.
The intensity and frequency of incidents, combined with the proximity of victim and perpetrator, not only makes harassment and intimidation extremely distressing, it also makes it difficult for recipients of this kind of abuse from taking a stand and speaking out against the behaviour.
Conditions of the orders may include a ban from the area where the victims live or a specific ban on approaching or communicating with the victims.
Because these court orders are made in civil proceedings, hearsay evidence can be used to protect victims who are too scared to come to court.
There are a number of things that you can do to limit these types of calls, ranging from contacting your telephone service provider to changing your number.
There is also legislation specifically aimed at nuisance calls which we'll discuss below.
It is important that this is accompanied by other action, such as an injunction, to ensure that the behaviour does not reoccur in a new area, or that the perpetrator does not return to the area to intimidate those who assisted the eviction action.
Intimidation or harassment may constitute a criminal offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 in England & Wales or the Protection from Harassment (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 in Northern Ireland (collectively referred to as ' PHA').
Eviction of the perpetrator is another option, moving the individual away from those whom they are intimidating or harassing.
Criminal harassment in Northern Ireland carries the following maximum sentences: In addition to the criminal sanction, a civil court (county court or high court) can also impose civil injunctions in harassment cases as well as awarding damages to the victim for the harassment.
The PHA makes a breach of such an injunction a criminal offence, which is: This is unusual, as the normal sanction for breach of the terms of an injunction is contempt of court proceedings in the civil court that ordered the original injunction.
Where there is persistent misuse of the telephone network, they can be made to pay compensation to the victim and fined an amount OFCOM deems to be appropriate, up to £2,000,000. where the malicious calls are one element of a wider charge, such as breach of an injunction, where there have been threats to kill etc.) the defendant could be held in contempt of court or charged with grievous bodily harm or actual bodily harm under the Offences Against the Person Act.
Every person commits a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine or imprisonment, who wrongfully uses violence to or intimidates any other person, or his wife or children, with a view to compel him to abstain from doing, or to do, any act which he has a legal right to do, or abstain from doing.
It shall be unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right granted or protected by section 3603, 3604, 3605, or 3606 of this title.