Protection from Harassment Act 2014
With the recent #MeToo Movement, more and more people are speaking out against the harassment that they have suffered. Victims of non-physical harassment may rely on the Protection from Harassment Act 2014 (POHA) to seek legal redress and obtain monetary compensation against the offender.
What behaviour comes under the POHA?
- Intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress
- Perceived harassment, alarm or distress
- Causing fear of violence or provoking violence
- Unlawful stalking
This means that any threatening, abusive or insulting words, behaviour and/or communication that causes you to feel harassed, alarmed or distressed can be addressed under the POHA.
EG: would be if your co-worker describes loudly and in a detailed, insulting manner of his desire for an inappropriate relationship with you to your other colleagues, intending for you to hear it and to distress you. You would be a victim of harassment under the POHA.
Remedies under the POHA
If the Court finds on the balance of probabilities that there has been a breach of the POHA, you may be entitled to compensation.
If you fear that the harassing behaviour will continue, you may apply for a protection order under section 12 of the POHA.
Under this protection order, the offender will be prohibited from continuing the offending behaviour or in the event that the offending communication is published, the protection order will require that no one is to publish or to continue to publish it.
The offences under the POHA are criminal in nature and so if needed, you may lodge a police report and begin a police investigation against the offender.