Bryan Ward - Harrassment

Publish Date
Saturday, 20 January 2018, 5:31PM
By Bryan Ward


The worst kinds of harassment – including cyberbullying – can be a criminal offence, and therefore you may be able to make a criminal complaint to the police.

There are a number of different Acts that include criminal offences in this area. Some of them, like the Harassment Act, deal with harassment, bullying and intimidation regardless of the form of the behaviour – that is, whether it’s face to face, or through a note in your letterbox, or through texts, emails and online posts.

In July 2015, however, the Harmful Digital Communications Act created a new offence specifically aimed at cyberbullying or other online harassment (see in this section, “Causing harm by cyberbullying (Harmful Digital Communications Act)”).

The Harassment Act makes the most serious kinds of harassment a criminal offence. If you complain to the police and they believe the harassment is criminal, they can arrest and charge the harasser.

The Act says it’s a criminal offence for someone to harass you, if they intended to make you fear for your safety or if they knew that what they were doing was likely to make you fear for your safety.

Note: If what happened doesn’t meet the test for criminal harassment, you may still be able to use the non-criminal process under the Harassment Act against the other person. This involves going to the District Court to get a restraining order (see in this chapter, “Harassment in the community: Getting protection under the Harassment Act”).

Follow the links below to learn more about what you can do about harassment and your issue :



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