How to Stop Someone from Harassing You Legally? (2024)

How to Stop Someone from Harassing You Legally? (1)

If someone is harassing you, you have a legal path toward protection and stopping the harassment. Legal remedies vary from place to place, but the path follows some general trends.

This article will give a brief overview of harassment, and types of harassment you can get legal help with, discuss how to stop someone from harassing you legally, and give you some other ideas that may help.

Table of Contents
  • What Is Harassment?
  • How to Deal With Harassment
  • When Can You Sue for Harassment?

What Is Harassment?

Harassment is a repetitive behavior that threatens, offends, or demeans the victim. Harassment must be uninvited, unwanted, and unwelcomed behavior. It often results in creating a hostile environment for the victim.

How to Stop Someone from Harassing You Legally? (2)

Types of harassment can include (but are not limited to):

  • Sexual harassment: Unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
  • Sexual abuse: Any form of non-consensual sexual contact or behavior.
  • Harassment at work: This includes any form of unwelcome behavior by coworkers, superiors, or clients that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
  • Threats of violence: Communicating intentions to cause physical harm or fear.
  • Menacing: Engaging in behavior that intimidates or threatens another individual.
  • Verbal abuse: Insults, name-calling, or offensive remarks.
  • Constant phone calls or text messages: Repeated, unwelcome calls or messages that can be threatening or harassing in nature.
  • Stalking: Repeatedly following, watching, or contacting someone in a way that causes them to feel afraid or harassed.
  • Cyberstalking: Using electronic means, such as the internet, social media, or email, to harass or stalk someone.

Harassment is a crime, and the harasser may have to serve time in jail if convicted. You also have civil law remedies: a restraining order or possibly a lawsuit.

Keep in mind that intention is crucial for a harassment claim.Your harasser must intend to make you feel threatened or afraid. You can prove this if they continue their actions after you tell them to stop.

It is not enough that a person mistreats you. You must tell them to stop. If you tell them “no,” any following action has the intent to harass.

How to Deal With Harassment

How to Stop Someone from Harassing You Legally? (3)

First, you can tell the harasser to stop calmly and clearly. Make it clear that you don’t want their attention.

Here are some ways to say no to a harasser:

  • I feel threatened when you yell at me.
  • Please don’t touch my leg.
  • Your texts are making me feel uncomfortable.
  • Your attention is unwanted.

A safer way to stop harassment is by getting the law involved to help you, from the police to the courts. This is the strongest and most official way to prevent harassment. You can do this immediately or after other efforts to solve the problem have failed.

If You’re in Danger, Contact the Police

Call the police immediately if you feel threatened with imminent harm. If you are uncertain, call the police. If you have a restraining order, call the police and have them enforce it. Your harasser may break other laws, and police can arrest them for those or the harassment.

Call 911 if it is urgent. Call the regular police phone line if not.

Send a Cease-and-Desist Harassment Letter

To get someone to stop harassing you, you can start with a cease and desist harassment letter.

If you are not in immediate danger, send the person a cease and desist letter and keep copies for yourself. How do you stop harassing texts and calls? It starts with a cease and desist letter. How do you stop someone from harassing you on social media? The same. This letter is a powerful tool, and it may stop harassment.

Telling your harasser to stop, in writing, creates an official record of you saying “no.” While this letter is not legally enforceable, it is clear evidence that you have rejected your harasser’s actions — which you may need later.

Keep Records of Harassment

You need to build your legal case. Start a log or notebook where you write every incident of harassment and contact with its date and time. Do this as soon after the event as you can. Having clear evidence helps stop the harassment.

Keep all of your texts and emails. Photos and screenshots are also good evidence. Recordings, like messages left on your answering machine, are also evidence. If the harassment occurs in front of other people, record their names and phone numbers. You may need them to be witnesses later or to sign an affidavit of what they witnessed.

Apply for a Restraining or Protection Order

A restraining order (protection or no-contact order) is an enforceable legal document that stops a harasser from repeating problematic behavior. A court grants this order, and the police enforce it. You will need to serve notice to the harasser. How you may serve that notice to the harasser will vary by state. Once the harasser receives notice, the order goes into effect.

The judge tailors the order to the specific behavior of the harasser and also often requires that the harasser remain a certain distance (e.g., 50 feet) from you. It will limit the times, purposes, and methods of their behavior.

In most places, you start an application at the police station. In an emergency, you can sometimes get a temporary order if you prove you are in imminent danger. A restraining order is a beneficial legal tool to stop someone from harassing you.

Enforcing a Restraining Order

The police can enforce the order, making the harasser comply. Note that some orders (stay away) are more accessible for the police to enforce than others (child support). They can also arrest the harasser and put them in jail, charging them with harassment or other crimes, if warranted.

Courts enforce that order by asking the court for civil contempt of court for violating the restraining order. If you can prove continued harassment after receiving notice of the order, they may have to pay a fine and/or serve time in jail. Criminal contempt is also a possibility. That process involves the police and prosecuting attorneys.

When Can You Sue for Harassment?

The laws about civil suits vary by state. You will need to check out those laws or get the guidance of a lawyer to see if you have a suit.

Civil rights laws bar most activities focused on a person because of specific characteristics they have. This can be gender, race, religion, age, and more. If you experience workplace harassment, especially sexual harassment, anti-discrimination laws may cover it.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers employees in the workplace. It only protects victims from companies, not individuals. You would have to claim that the company permitted harassment at work.

Remember, the harasser may face charges in criminal court. But that will happen separately (and faster) than a civil suit can.

Civil Suits for Harassment

You can also sue your harasser in civil court, but these cases are rare. In civil court, the case becomes about money lost. You can sue to get those costs back if you have hospital bills, lost work, or pain and suffering. The drawbacks are that these cases can take a long time, and if your harasser doesn’t have money, it will be hard to get them to pay a judgment.

A restraining order is a better way to control the actions of the harasser. It is how to get someone to stop harassing you.

As a legal expert with a thorough understanding of harassment laws and legal remedies, I can provide comprehensive insights into the various aspects outlined in the provided article. I have a wealth of experience and knowledge in this domain, having extensively studied and navigated the intricate legal frameworks surrounding harassment.

The article you provided covers essential facets of harassment, legal remedies, and steps one can take when facing harassment. Here's a breakdown of the concepts discussed:

Understanding Harassment:

  • Definition: Harassment involves repetitive behavior that threatens, offends, or demeans the victim. It must be uninvited, unwanted, and creates a hostile environment.
  • Types of Harassment: Includes but isn't limited to sexual harassment, sexual abuse, workplace harassment, threats of violence, menacing, verbal abuse, constant phone calls or text messages, stalking, and cyberstalking.

Dealing with Harassment:

  • Communication: Advises victims to clearly and calmly tell the harasser to stop. Offers examples of how to express discomfort or request cessation of unwanted behavior.
  • Involvement of Law Enforcement: Recommends seeking help from the police or legal authorities for a more official intervention if initial attempts to stop harassment fail.

Legal Recourse and Actions:

  • Contacting Police: Urges victims to contact the police if in immediate danger or if a restraining order needs enforcement.
  • Cease-and-Desist Letter: Suggests sending a written request to cease harassment, creating a record of refusal, which might be needed for legal purposes.
  • Keeping Records: Emphasizes the importance of maintaining a log or documentation of harassment incidents, including texts, emails, photos, and witness details.
  • Restraining or Protection Orders: Explains the process of obtaining a court-issued order that restricts the harasser's behavior and details enforcement procedures by law enforcement.
  • Enforcing a Restraining Order: Highlights the police's role in ensuring compliance and potential legal consequences for violating the order.
  • Suing for Harassment: Discusses civil suits as a rare but possible action, focusing on financial compensation for damages caused by harassment.

Legal Considerations:

  • Civil Rights Laws: Mentions laws that protect individuals from harassment based on specific characteristics such as gender, race, religion, and age, particularly in workplace settings.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Protects employees from workplace harassment but focuses on holding companies accountable for allowing harassment.

The article effectively outlines the gravity of harassment, available legal remedies, and the importance of documentation and legal recourse to protect victims. It emphasizes the significance of both civil and criminal actions in addressing harassment and offers guidance on pursuing legal action while acknowledging the complexities and nuances of different legal avenues.

If you require further clarification or specific details on any of these aspects, feel free to ask for more information.

How to Stop Someone from Harassing You Legally? (2024)


How to Stop Someone from Harassing You Legally? ›

To stop harassment, start by confronting your harasser and letting them know that their comments or actions are not welcome. If they persist, you may need to report the harassment to the proper authorities. If the person still won't leave you alone, you may want to consider filing for a restraining order against them.

What is the solution to stop harassment? ›

To stop harassment, start by confronting your harasser and letting them know that their comments or actions are not welcome. If they persist, you may need to report the harassment to the proper authorities. If the person still won't leave you alone, you may want to consider filing for a restraining order against them.

How do you respond to someone who is harassing you? ›

Look them in the eye and denounce their behavior with a strong, clear voice. Many people prefer to name the behavior. For example, you can say, “Do not [whatever they're doing]; that's harassment.” You can also simply say “that is not okay” or “don't speak to me like that.” Say what feels natural to you.

How do you professionally tell someone to stop harassing you? ›

Name the behavior and state that it is wrong.

Clearly state to the harasser the specific thing they are doing and that the behavior is inappropriate. For example, say, “Do not whistle at me, that is harassment,”,"I am not comfortable by the way you are touching me. Stop! That is harassment" or “Do not touch my butt.

What can the police do about harassing texts? ›

In cases where the police determine that intervention is necessary, they may request telephone records from mobile phone companies to trace the source of the harassing texts and reveal the identity of the antagonist. However, obtaining these records typically requires legal permission, and the process can take time.

What is the best defense against harassment? ›

Some possible defenses for harassment charges include : The defendant was acting under the influence of extreme emotional distress. The defendant had reasonable cause to believe that his actions were necessary to protect himself or another person. The defendant acted in self-defense.

What is unwanted harassment? ›

Definition: Persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens two or more times, directed at or towards you by another person, which causes you to feel alarmed or distressed or to fear that violence might be used against you.

What is psychological harassment? ›

Psychological harassment is a form of vexatious behaviour that involves repeated hostile and unwanted words, behaviour, or actions that are painful, hurtful, annoying, humiliating or insulting.

Should I block someone who is harassing me? ›

Limiting contact with an abusive account and limiting exposure to abusive content—through features like blocking, muting, and restricting—can help you protect yourself from unwarranted, inappropriate, or harmful conduct.

What message to send someone who is harassing you? ›

Dear Sir or Madam: This CEASE AND DESIST ORDER is to inform you that your harassing and intimidating actions against me has become unbearable. Such anti-social behavior is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in any way, shape or form.

How do I write a letter to stop harassment? ›

Here are some tips to help you write an effective cease and desist letter:
  1. Keep it professional and concise.
  2. Be clear and specific about the harassing behavior.
  3. Demand that the harassment stop immediately.
  4. Provide evidence of the harassment if possible.
  5. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.
Apr 7, 2023

How many texts is considered harassment? ›

Example: Getting 50 unwanted and upsetting text messages, emails and/or phone calls from the same person within a week for no reason. If someone has committed any of the above actions, you may have grounds to get a civil harassment restraining order.

What type of text messages are considered harassment? ›

Obscene Communication: The act of initiating communication via text and making a suggestion, request, or comment that's considered indecent or improper. Threatening Communication: Any type of threatening communication carried out electronically via text is considered a form of harassment.

Can text messages be used as harassment? ›

Many people receive harassing texts that threaten their career, job, or livelihood. They can be sexually offensive from co-workers, giving rise to a sexual harassment claim, or as it is now termed, textual harassment.

How do you respond to a hostile message? ›

Respond with kindness to let the anger fade away.
  1. “I hope you find yourself in a better place soon.”
  2. “You don't have to be mean to others to feel better about yourself.”
  3. “I won't hold this against you because I know you don't really mean it.”
  4. “We both know you didn't need to say that, right?”

How do you get someone to stop contacting you? ›

11+ Effective Ways to Get Someone to Stop Texting You (Without Being Rude)
  1. Block them.
  2. Ignore them.
  3. Tell them you're busy.
  4. Make an excuse.
  5. Reply with an error message.
  6. Confront them.
  7. Change your number if you're being harassed.
  8. Contact the police if you feel unsafe.

How do you respond to harassment or abuse if it happens to you? ›

If you feel uncomfortable about the way someone is getting personal with you, talk it over with an adult you trust. Sexual abuse might also be called sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape. If any of kind of abuse has happened to you, tell an adult you trust right away.

What is generally the first step for someone experiencing harassment? ›

If you are a victim of harassment, your first step toward resolving the problem should be to tell the responsible party to stop their offensive behavior. In some cases, if the responsible party is a reasonable person, they will stop such conduct and take corrective action.


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