Protection from Harassment

Protection from Harassment Act 2014 (“POHA”)

POHA provides for the criminalisation of certain harassing behaviour. For example, a person who acts in such a way (whether by behaviour, words or other forms of communication) as to cause another person harassment, alarm or distress, will be guilty of an offence. The offence is even more severe if the harasser had actually intended the victim to react in such a manner.

If you are a victim of any offence under POHA, you have the right to bring an action for damages in court for statutory tort pursuant to Section 11(1). If the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the respondent has contravened that section as alleged by the victim, the court may award such damages in respect of the contravention as the court may, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, think just and equitable.

Monetary Compensation may not be sufficient in certain cases and where it is essential to ensure your personal security, you may seek a “Protection Order” pursuant to Section 12. If the District Court is satisfied on a balance of probability that the respondent has contravened any offence under POHA and such contravention is likely to continue or be committed, it may make a Protection Order if it is just and equitable in all the circumstances.

Additionally, Section 13 empowers the District Court to make an “expedited protection order” on an ex parte basis (without notice of the application) that will last for 28 days or until the hearing of the application for the protection order if you are able to adduce prima facie evidence that:

1. the respondent has contravened an offence under the PHA,

2. that such contravention is likely to continue or the respondent is likely to commit such contravention to you imminently, and

3. such contravention is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on your or your day-to-day activities,

and the District Court considers it just and equitable in all the circumstances for the protection order to be made on an expedited basis.

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