The Protection from Harassment Act 2014 provides various remedies for victims of harassment.
A range of self-help measures, civil remedies and criminal sanctions are available to better protect people from harassment and related anti-social behavior. Civil remedies could range from application to court for protection orders, to bringing a civil action in court for damages (monetary compensation).
Under civil remedies, victims of harassment will have the right to apply directly to the Court for a Protection Order requiring harassers to desist from doing anything that may cause them further harm, as well as stop the publishing and spread of harassing communication by others who republish the communication.
Expedited Protection Orders
The court has the power to grant an Expedited Protection Order to protect victims in cases of urgency. Expedited Protection Orders empowers the Court to order third parties to remove materials and to order offenders to go for counsel sessions.
In cases where false allegations have been made against a victim, which are proven to be false by the victim, the Court can direct a “suitable notification” to alert readers to the facts. The form of notification would be at the courts’ discretion.
An expedited protection order may be granted where the offending conduct is likely to have a ‘substantial adverse effect on the victim or the victim’s day-to-day activities’. Breach of the protection order or expedited protection order is an offence under the Act.
Monetary compensation would be suitable in cases where the victim is under emotional distress that causes physical or mental harm to the victim’s health.
Notably, a public servant or public service worker who is subjected to indecent, threatening, abusive or insulting words, behavior or communication cannot commence civil proceedings under the Protection from Harassment Act to recover damages.
The Protection Harassment Act 2014 provides the court with a wider range of sentencing options to ensure that the sentence meted out in each case better takes into account the culpability of the offender and the harm caused to the victim. Sentencing options include fines, imprisonment and community orders.