The Law / Criminal act

Section 1 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct which:

  • Amounts to the harassment of another, and

  • He should know or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other

Section 2 – covers offences of ‘alarming the person or causing the person distress’

Section 4 - covers offences of ‘putting people in fear of violence’.

For the purposes of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, a course of conduct, is defined as follows:

  • A course of conduct in relation to harassment of a single person means conduct on at least 2 occasions in relation to that person under section 7 (3) (a) of the Protection from Harassment
    Act 1997.

  • A course of conduct in relation to harassment of 2 or more persons means conduct on at least one occasion in relation to each of those persons under section 7 (3) (b) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

On 25th November 2012 the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 created two new offences of Stalking under sections 2A and 4A into the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 to cover cases where the course of conduct  in Section 2 and 4 above amounts to Stalking.

Section 2A (3) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 gives the examples of acts or omissions which, in particular circumstances, are ones associated with stalking. These include: physical following; contacting, or attempting to contact a person by any means (this may be through friends, work colleagues, family or technology); or, other intrusions into the victim's privacy such as loitering in a particular place or watching or spying on a person.