Understanding Harassment Restraining Orders

Law Blog

If you are being harassed by another person, you have the power to stop this harassment. One of the legal ways to exercise your right is to hire a restraining order lawyer. The following is an overview of what a harassment restraining order is all about.

What is a restraining order? A restraining order is an official command given by a court of law to a person ordering them to stop doing certain activity. When you seek a restraining order you are trying to prevent someone from doing something they have threatened to do. Restraining orders are used in numerous contexts such as employment disputes, domestic abuse and cases of harassment. Restraining orders are limited in duration and are different from long term court intervention, known as an injunction. Therefore, restraining orders provide temporary relief while you pursue a permanent injunction.

What is harassment? Civil harassment is a threatening statement or action made against you by a person you have never dated or a person with whom you are not closely related like a roommate, neighbour or friend. However, civil harassment also extends to abuse from members of your family if that kind of abuse is not listed under domestic violence. For instance, if you are being abused by your uncle or nephew or cousin, this amounts to civil harassment not domestic violence.

The threat of violence needs to be credible to be considered as harassment. This means a person spoke or acted in a manner that would reasonably make you fear for your safety or that of your family. Credible threats include:

  • Calling you repeatedly
  • Following you repeatedly
  • Blackmail
  • Slashing your car tires or malicious damage of your property
  • Leaving  notes
  • Sending emails or letters repeatedly

Who qualifies for a HRO? Anyone is eligible for a harassment restraining order. For example, if a colleague threatens to beat you up, you have the right to apply for a harassment restraining order or if your former boy/girlfriend keeps calling and issuing threats against you, you could apply for a harassment restraining order. However, before taking any legal action, you should first warn them orally or through writing to stop harassing you. Maintain a copy of the letters you have sent to the harasser and a record of the number of times you have verbally warned the harasser to stop.

How will a harassment restraining order protect you? The court will issue an order to the harasser instructing them not to contact you any further. This includes forbidding calls, letters, notes and emails. For instance, the order may state the number of feet that the harasser should be away from you, or the order can state 'stop calling' or limit the amount of times that the harasser is allowed to contact you in a week or month.

How are restraining orders enforced? Harassment restraining orders include civil disputes which are non criminal and are enforced through civil proceedings. The police enforce these court orders by ensuring they keep an eye on the harasser and catch them if they act in violation of the order. However, you can also enforce the order by filing a request to the court when the other party violates any of the terms included in the order.

For more information, contact a law firm like Rod Keeley Legal.


20 January 2015

Break In: Everyday Legal Matters You Should Know About

My name is Jeanette Kennan. I have been a high school legal studies teacher for many years. As such, I am fascinated by legal cases I come across in the media. Family and friends often consult me about minor matters related to the law and although no expert, I can often point them in the right direction. It occurred to me that there may be other people out there who are not aware of basic legal issues. After all, you probably don't think about legal matters related to death, accidents or crimes until you find yourself in a crisis situation. This blog is designed to give you some introductory information about a range of legal topics. Hopefully, it will help you to be prepared and informed should a legal concern arise. I really appreciate you breaking in to my humble little site. Please enjoy.