Steps to stop ha­rass­ment

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - ALAN KNOWSLEY LE­GAL MAT­TERS

If you, or some­one you know, is be­ing stalked or harassed it can be very dis­tress­ing and fright­en­ing. You do not have to put up with be­ing harassed or stalked at your home, in pub­lic, or at work and there are steps you can take to put a stop to the be­hav­iour. There are steps you can take if you are be­ing harassed or stalked.

If your stalker is a rel­a­tive, ex­part­ner or some­one you have had a do­mes­tic re­la­tion­ship with and you are con­cerned that they will be vi­o­lent to­wards you, con­tact the po­lice. The po­lice may is­sue a tem­po­rary Po­lice Safety Or­der (PSO) if they have rea­son­able grounds to be­lieve that do­mes­tic vi­o­lence ei­ther has, or may, oc­cur.

The per­son bound by the PSO must leave your ad­dress, and:

Must not as­sault, threaten, in­tim­i­date or ha­rass you, or en­cour­age oth­ers to do so;

Must not fol­low, stop or con­tact you;

Must sur­ren­der all firearms and their firearms li­cence to the Po­lice. A PSO can be is­sued for up to five days. The PSO also pro­tects any chil­dren liv­ing with you. You can also ap­ply to the Court for a Pro­tec­tion Or­der. You must show that there has been do­mes­tic vi­o­lence (which in­cludes phys­i­cal, sex­ual and psy­cho­log­i­cal abuse) and that the or­der is needed to pro­tect you.

The per­son bound by the Pro­tec­tion Or­der:

Must not abuse or threaten you or your chil­dren, or en­cour­age oth­ers to do so;

Must not dam­age, or threaten to dam­age, your prop­erty;

Must sur­ren­der all firearms, and their firearms li­cence will also be sus­pended. You can also ask for non-con­tact con­di­tions, for ex­am­ple, that they not come on to your prop­erty, loi­ter in your neigh­bour­hood, im­pede your travel, or con­tact you.

If there is a risk of harm to you or your chil­dren the court may make an or­der al­most im­me­di­ately.

If your stalker is a stranger or neigh­bour, then the Ha­rass­ment Act may ap­ply to you. There must be at least two acts of ha­rass­ment within a 12 month pe­riod.

Ha­rass­ment in­cludes fol­low­ing you, en­ter­ing your prop­erty with­out per­mis­sion, un­wanted phone calls or let­ters, loi­ter­ing out­side your home or work, or any­thing that makes you fear for your safety. You may then ap­ply to the Court for a Re­strain­ing Or­der pre­vent­ing all con­tact be­tween the stalker and you. If you do not know the per­son’s

‘‘You do not have to put up with in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.’’

name, you can ask the Po­lice to ver­ify the per­son’s iden­tity.

The Court must be sat­is­fied that your cir­cum­stances would cause dis­tress to a rea­son­able per­son and that an or­der is nec­es­sary to pro­tect you from fur­ther ha­rass­ment.

Un­like a Pro­tec­tion Or­der it is not pos­si­ble to ob­tain a Re­strain­ing Or­der at short no­tice. If your ha­rasser is your em­ployer, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of your em­ployer, one of your em­ployer’s cus­tomers or clients, or a col­league, and you are en­coun­ter­ing sex­ual or racial ha­rass­ment, the Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Act may ap­ply to you.

You may be able to pur­sue a per­sonal griev­ance against your em­ployer if they ha­rass you, or some­one else does and your em­ployer does not take the nec­es­sary ac­tion. These sit­u­a­tions can be ex­tremely up­set­ting and stress­ful but you do not have to put up with in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour.

Col­umn courtesy of Rainey Collins Lawyers phone 0800 733 484.

If you have a le­gal in­quiry you would like dis­cussed in this col­umn please email Alan on aknowsley@rain­ey­collins.co.nz

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