Once you are the target of online harassment it could feel like there is no escape. The internet is a massive space that has millions of different avenues that harassers can take to keep their abuse going. Although this might be true there are ways to get someone to stop online harassment. In this blog, we will fill you in on what legal rights you have as a harassment victim and how to get someone to stop harassing you online.
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What Can I Legally Do About Online Harassment?
It’s important to note that online harassment is a crime in many jurisdictions. In the United States, for example, online harassment is considered a form of stalking and is punishable by law. Keep in mind, however, that online harassment is often difficult to prosecute since it can be hard to prove who is responsible if the harasser is hiding their identity.
If your harasser isn’t hiding behind fake accounts and emails there are some legal avenues you can peruse to put an end to online harassment.
Contact Law Enforcement
If the harassment is severe or includes threats, you should contact law enforcement. The police can investigate and, if necessary, arrest the harasser.
Get a Restraining Order
If you’re being harassed by someone you know in real life, you may be able to get a restraining order. A restraining order is a legal order that prohibits the harasser from having any contact with you, either in person or online. It’s important to note that violating a restraining order is a crime, so getting one can be an effective way to stop the harassment and protect yourself from further harm.
Can You File a Police Report for Online Harassment?
The short answer is yes, you can file a police report for online harassment. In fact, we would encourage you to do so if you are feeling threatened or unsafe in any way. However, it’s important to note that filing a police report for online harassment is not always as simple as it sounds.
For one thing, many law enforcement agencies are still unfamiliar with how to deal with cases of online harassment. Additionally, because online harassment often takes place across state lines (or even country lines), it can be difficult to determine which agency has jurisdiction over the case. And finally, even if you can file a police report, there’s no guarantee that anything will come of it. Unfortunately, prosecuting cases of online harassment can be very difficult due to the anonymous nature of the internet.
How To Get Someone to Stop Harassing You Online
While filing a police report may not always lead to justice being served, it’s still important to do so if you feel like you are being harassed or threatened in any way. In addition to filing a police report, there are also some other steps you can take to help protect yourself from online harassment:
- Avoid engaging with your harasser: Many times, trolls and other types of harassers are looking for attention. By ignoring them, you deny them the satisfaction they’re looking for and hopefully, they’ll move on. Don’t hesitate to block and delete them from your life.
- Document everything: If you are being harassed online, it’s important to document everything that is happening. This includes saving any threatening messages you receive and taking screenshots of any abusive posts or comments. This documentation will be helpful if you decide to file a police report or take legal action against your harasser.
- Reach out for help: If you are feeling overwhelmed by online harassment, know that you are not alone and some people can help. As we mentioned there is little authorities can do about online harassment when the harasser is unknown, this is why we recommend reaching out to cyber harassment experts. They specialize in these types of cases and work with strategies and techniques that can uncover online identities and can help the police bring your harasser to justice.
No one deserves to be harassed, intimidated, or threatened online—period. If you find yourself the victim of such behavior, know that there are steps you can take to protect yourself and hold your harasser accountable. While filing a police report may not always lead to justice being served, it’s still important to do so if you feel like you are in danger in any way. In addition to filing a police report, there are also some other steps you can take to get someone to stop harassing you online which we have listed above. Remember — you are not alone in this fight and some people can help!