Harassment: What to do when the police do not stop it
Harassment is on the rise. More and more people are suffering abuse and intimidation, even violence and serious damage to property, at the hands of other members of what is supposed to be a civil society.
Unfortunately, the Police are not always able to help, often due to insufficient evidence being available to mount a prosecution. Consequently, the harassment can go unchecked, and it can escalate as the perpetrators gain confidence. What can be done when an arrest is not made?
Where the criminal law does not provide the required protection from harassment, the civil law can help. It is possible to issue a claim in the County Court seeking an injunction, i.e. a court order, preventing the perpetrator from contacting you, your family, your colleagues and your friends. It is even possible to have the perpetrators banned from entering the road you live on.
Furthermore, you can claim compensation for the stress you suffer as a result of the harassment and for any damage done to your property.
If the harassment continues after the injunction has been made, the perpetrators can be fined, imprisoned or both.
It is not always necessary for a case to be pursued all the way to a trial: a solicitor’s letter is usually enough to stop the abuse. However, in some cases, there is no option but to seek the Court’s protection by issuing a claim for an injunction.
Battens Solicitors were successful in obtaining an injunction this month to prevent harassment. The clients in question were subjected to a campaign of abuse that involved an assault, a rock being thrown through the window of their home in the early hours of the morning, paint being thrown over their house in the middle of the night, repeated slashing and puncturing of the tyres on their vehicles, anonymous religiously motivated hate mail being delivered to their home address, anonymous malicious correspondence being sent to one client’s employer, and general intimidation and abuse.
As well as the injunction, following trial the perpetrators were ordered to pay damages and a large figure in legal costs.