Background to the act and its uses
This Act was primarily created to provide protection against stalkers, but it has been used in other ways.
Under this Act, it is now an offence for a person to pursue a course of action which amounts to harassment of another individual, and that they know or ought to know amounts to harassment. Under this act the definition of harassment is behavior which causes alarm or distress. This Act provides for a jail sentence of up to six months or a fine. There are also a variety of civil remedies that can be used including awarding of damages, and restraining orders backed by the power of arrest.
Employers have vicarious liability for harassment by their employees under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, (see Majrowski Case link below). For employees this may provide an easier route to compensation than claims based on discrimination legislation or personal injury claims for stress at work, as the elements of harassment are likely to be easier to prove, the statutory defence is not available to the employer, and it may be easier to establish a claim for compensation. Also as the claim can be made in the County Court costs are recoverable and legal aid is available.
In Scotland the Act works slightly differently:
- A jail term of up to five years in very serious cases can be imposed.
- Civil remedies include damages, interdict and non-harassment orders backed by powers of arrest.
This page was created by Jennifer Kirk to expand the T-VOX Wiki from information available via OPSI and Wikipedia.