You can get protection from abuse, or unwanted attention that's upsetting, threatening or frightening.

Legal protection from domestic abuse is usually made by a court through non-molestation orders and occupation orders. But these orders can only be used against someone you're personally connected to, such as a relative, spouse, partner or someone you've been in a significant relationship with.

Instead, you could get a harassment order, which can be used against someone who isn't personally connected to you, such as a:

  • friend
  • stranger
  • work colleague
  • one-night stand

If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police. See I’m in danger now.

Protection from harassment

If you're being harassed or abused by anyone who does not count as an associated person, you can apply to a county court for a harassment order (injunction).

The order tells someone to stop harassing you. If they don't stop it’s a criminal offence and they could be fined, sent to prison or both.

You can also ask for compensation for any financial losses or distress and anxiety caused by their actions.

How to apply

Before applying to court, it’s always a good idea to get legal advice. You may also be able to get legal aid.

You’ll need to show evidence to the court, so it’s important to keep a record of everything that happens to you, including relevant medical records or police reports.

Make notes of events with dates, take photos of any damage, and keep letters, emails and phone records.

Report harassment to the police

It’s a criminal offence to stalk, harass or make someone feel scared of being attacked. You can report this abuse to the police.

The police may:

  • give the abuser a harassment warning
  • charge the abuser and seek a criminal prosecution

Restraining orders

If your case goes to court, the judge can stop the abuser from contacting or going near you with a restraining order. The court can issue a restraining order even if the abuser isn’t found guilty.

It’s a criminal offence to break a restraining order and the abuser could be jailed for it.

What is harassment?

Harassment is when someone makes you feel threatened, humiliated, distressed or scared.

Harassing behaviours could include:

  • abusive letters or emails
  • offensive comments on websites and social media
  • online bullying
  • spoken threats and abuse
  • graffiti
  • attacks on your home and property
  • stalking

Get help

For help, information and practical advice on harassment or stalking call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.

Need more support? Just ask us.

Get in touch on [email protected]