If you are being harassed by someone, you don't have to deal with it alone. Perhaps you have asked him to stop, changed your phone number or blocked him online, but his behavior continues. Your next step is to file a police harassment report.
Definition of Harassment
The legal definition of harassment varies by state, but is generally defined as any unwanted, unwelcome and uninvited behavior that annoys, threatens or intimidates you, or puts you in fear of your safety. Examples of harassment are threats (online or in person), derogatory comments, vulgar propositions, assault, offensive touching, stalking and visual insults, such as defamatory posters or cartoons. Federal law prohibiting harassment at work includes the Civil Rights Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1964. Title VII of the Act prohibits discrimination at work on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin and sex. Later employment harassment laws were based on this. In 1969, the U.S. Department of Defense drafted a Human Goals Charter to create a policy of equal respect for both sexes, paving the way for workplace guidelines against harassment.
Reporting Harassment to the Police
Before filing a police report for harassment, gather all the evidence of the harassing behavior you can, including print outs of emails, text messages and social media messages and hard copies of your phone records. Ask any witnesses of the harassing behavior if they are willing to be interviewed by the police and if so, create a list of witness names, addresses and phone numbers. The more proof of harassment you have, the more likely the police will take your complaint seriously. Contact your local police or sheriff's department. If you feel the matter is an emergency, call 911. When the officer arrives at your home, he will ask several questions to verify your harassment claim, and take the evidence you have gathered.
Read More: How to Report Internet Harassment
After Reporting Harassment
What happens when you file a police report for harassment? First, your local police or sheriff's department will investigate the matter. They will look at the evidence you have provided, ask witnesses to verify your claims and interview the person who has been harassing you. If this does not stop the harassment, you may be able to file a court complaint. Contact your local court clerk's office and ask for the forms needed to make your complaint (you may be able to get these online). Depending on the circumstances, the court may create a protection order or a restraining order to give you limited protection from the harasser.
To file a police report for harassment, contact your local police or sheriff's department and provide them with evidence that you are being harassed.
- Pine Tree Legal Assistance: Protection from Harassment
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Harassment
- Department of Defense: Human Goals
- Legal Information Network of Colorado: Harassment & Stalking
- Cullman County Courts: Frequently asked Questions regarding Protection Orders
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.