Protection order against harassment

The Protection from Harassment Act (No. 17 of 2011) came into effect on 27 April 2013.

The act deals with your right to approach a Magistrates’ Court in the prescribed manner for a protection order against harassment if you (the Complainant) feel that a person (called the Respondent) is harassing you, if he or she:

1. causes harm or inspires the reasonable belief that harm may be caused to the complainant (you or a related person [meaning any member of your family or household, or any other person in a close relationship to you] by unreasonably-

a. following, watching, pursuing or accosting you or a related person, or loitering outside of or near the building or place where you or a related person resides, works, carries on business, studies or happens to be;
b. engaging in verbal, electronic or any other communication aimed at you or a related person, by any means, whether or not conversation ensues; or
c. sending, delivering or causing the delivery of letters, telegrams, packages, facsimiles, electronic mail or other objects you or a related person or leaving them where they will be found by, given to or brought to the attention of, you or a related person; or

2. is sexually harassing you or a related person;

“Sexual harassment” means any-

a. unwelcome sexual attention from a person who knows or ought reasonably to know that such attention is unwelcome;
b. unwelcome explicit or implicit behaviour, suggestions, messages or remarks of a sexual nature that have the effect of offending, intimidating or humiliating the complainant or a related person in circumstances, which a reasonable person having regard to all the circumstances would have anticipated that the complainant or related person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated;
c. implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request; or
d. implied or expressed threat of reprisal or actual reprisal for refusal to comply with a sexually oriented request.

This means that even if you receive unsolicited communications (faxes, calls or emails) you could seek a protection order to prevent further harassment.

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