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The Harassment Protection Act 1995
The Harassment Protection Act 1995

An act to tackle harassment in all its forms

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Temporal and Spiritual, and Commons, in the present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

Section 1: offenses

1. A person commits an offense if:
  • They knowingly engage in stalking activities such as continually following or snooping on another person for no good reason
  • They engage in minor harassment of a person such as repeatedly making unwanted phone calls, repeatedly sending unwanted messages, or make repeated unwanted comments directly to another person with the intention of causing distress
  • They make obscene phone calls to another person with the intention of causing distress
  • They write obscene letters or messages to another person with the intention of causing distress
2. The above offenses are for general low-level harassment; abuse, sexual violence and more serious crimes such as libel and slander are covered by other relevant acts of law.

3. In proceedings for an offense under part 1 of this section, it is a defense for the accused to show that the course of behavior was reasonable in the circumstances. This could include self-defense, genuine arguments or conflicts between parties, and actions being infrequent by their nature. 

4. An offense is not committed if the actions in 1.1 were conducted:
  • For the purpose of preventing or detecting crime
  • Under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment
  • Under circumstances where the course of conduct was reasonable

Section 2: penalty for an offense

1. A person who commits an offense under section 1 and is convicted by a court of law is liable to:

a. First offense: mandatory rehabilitation of duration and type to determine by the courts and a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum; the court may, at its discretion, levy the cost of the rehabilitation to the convicted offender

b. Second offense: imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both)

c. Third or greater offense: imprisonment for a term not exceeding 24 months or a fine (or both)

Section 3: short title and commencement

1. This Act may be cited as the “Harassment Act 1995”
2. This Act shall enter into force on the 1 January 1996
3. This Act shall be applied throughout the United Kingdom
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Madam Speaker

Her Majesty’s Government is committed to tackling crime in all its forms.

While violent crimes often grab the headlines, low-level, less dramatic crime is also a very serious issue. This includes harassment.

Sadly, much of this type of crime is aimed at women. Vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, can also fall victim to harassment. In all cases, it creates a great deal of fear and anxiety. Sometimes it escalates into other crimes.

In all forms it is unacceptable and the government wants to send a very clear message that these crimes will not go unpunished.

This legislation provides a simple framework for dealing with harassment. It sets out a range of very specific offenses and the associated punishments. We have, of course, provided very specific parameters so that petty arguments or general and genuine disputes are not dragged into the purview of this act.

The government has taken a reasonable approach and has opted for rehabilitation and counseling for the first offense. We aim to educate and inform in the first instance. Punishments then become harsher for serial offenders with jail time and fines provided as options for the courts.

Madam Speaker, I hope that the House will join me in supporting this important bill.
Mrs. Margo Leadbetter
Home Secretary and Secretary of State for DEFRA
Conservative MP for Surbiton
Order! Leader of the House?
Madam speaker,

I beg this bill be moved
Sir Harold Saxon MP

Acting Prime Minister

Chancellor of the Exchequer (1994 - )
MP for Aylesbury

Second Reading!

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