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Protection from Harrassment Act 1997

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CITATION Edit

U.K. Protection from Harrassment Act 1997.

Overview Edit

The Act extends to any form of persistent conduct which causes another alarm or distress.

Section 4 of the Act makes it a criminal offence for a person to pursue a course of conduct which he knows, or ought to know, will cause another to fear violence. This offence is intended to catch the most serious cases where behaviour is so threatening that victims fear for their safety. It carries a penalty of a maximum of five years' imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

Section 2 of the Act provides for a further offence in cases of a course of conduct which the perpetrator knows, or ought to know, will cause harassment. This offence is intended to catch the sort of persistent conduct which, although it may not make the victim fear that violence will be used, nonetheless can have devastating effects. It carries a penalty of a maximum of 6 months' imprisonment and/or a level five fine.

A court sentencing someone convicted of an offence under either of these sections may also impose a restraining order prohibiting specified forms of behaviour. Breach of a restraining order is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years' imprisonment.

In addition to these criminal offences, section 3 of the Act provides a civil remedy which enables a victim to seek an injunction against a person who is harassing them or may be likely to do so.

Section 13 refers to corresponding legislation made under the Northern Ireland Act 1974.

Source Edit

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