If you suffer from harassment, no matter what type of harassment it is, you have the right to protect yourself, and to report it to the police. The police and local authorities will then be able to take the appropriate measures in order to deal with the situation, and ensure that the harassment stops and that the person committing said harassment against you is dealt with in the way that the law states.
In order to do this, you have to follow the proper procedure, collecting evidence to support your report, all while you also take your own steps to remain protected. But, once you have filed the report to the police, what happens? What do the police do? What procedures are followed?
If you’ve ever wondered about this, you’re in the right place. We’re going to tell you exactly what happens after you file a police report for harassment, and we’ll also give you some information on how to file a report in the first place, what qualifies as harassment, what the penalties are, and more.
Does that sound like something you’re interested in? Then let’s get right into it!
What Happens When You File A Report For Harassment?
Firstly, let’s get right into the main question, by telling you what happens once you have filed a report for harassment.
Basically, once you have reported the harassment to the police, the matter is now in the hands of the authorities, and they will take the necessary steps. Depending on the severity of the harassment, a degree of priority will be given to the case, especially as some can’t really be stuck on a waiting list.
But what happens, first and foremost, is that the police will investigate the report. Usually, they will do this by analyzing all of the evidence, interviewing witnesses, and verifying the events of the harassment.
They will also usually reach out to the person harassing you, in order to give them a warning or place them under specific measures. It depends, of course, on the situation and the type of harassment, as well as the level of its severity.
If the harassment continues, the police will take harsher measures. And if it still continues after this, you could file a court complaint, and also get a restraining order. The police will be able to help you with the necessary steps for this.
It is also worth noting that, while the police are already investigating the harassment you reported, you can and should report any new harassment, even if it is from an ongoing case. Always keep the police up to date with any of the events taking place, so that they are fully informed of everything, and are therefore better able to take action and protect you.
How To Report Harassment To The Police:
Now that you know what happens, in a vague sense, once you file a police report for harassment, it’s time to talk about some of the other important steps in the procedure, such as reporting the harassment in the first place. How should you go about it?
This depends on the situation that you are in, and the harassment in question. If you are under imminent threat or danger, or the harassment is very severe, you should call 911 straight away, or contact the local police station so that they can send officers around to your location as soon as they are able. They will then investigate the matter, ask you questions, and take the necessary steps and action.
If the harassment is not as imminent or as threatening, but it is still harassment and therefore something that should be stopped, then you should get in contact with the local police about filing a report. You might be able to phone or do this online, but the best way is to go in person so that they can take your statement in person and explain the process thoroughly.
As to filing the report, here are some helpful tips that you should know about beforehand:
- Make sure to gather any and all evidence possible. Video footage, audio footage, transcripts, any physical evidence and photos, witnesses….
- Make sure you write down any details of the events so that you do not forget them. It can be nerve-wracking to re-tell everything to the police, so having a little cheat guide will help you remember everything with more ease!
- If you do list witnesses, make sure you have their permission to be included in the case, and that they are willing!
- Take someone with you if needed, this can really help you feel more at ease and comfortable.
- You will be asked to review the final report, take your time with it.
Basically, the more information and evidence that you have, the better the police will be able to help you!
What Qualifies As Harassment?
Another important thing you need to know about is whether something actually counts as harassment or not.
The legal definition of harassment can change in each state, so it is very important that you check the specific statutes within your local jurisdiction.
That being said, in most states harassment is usually defined as a misdemeanor, in which you are suffering discrimination, threats, direct danger to your wellbeing, and similar.
In order to be able to claim harassment, you will need to prove two main things:
- Firstly, prove that you felt harassed due to something that was said or done to you (you should have evidence to back this up)
- Secondly, prove that what was said or done to you, was out of an intent to torment, scare, threaten, or embarrass you. (This is usually proven through a combination of the evidence and the specific circumstances and situations)
The penalty for the harassment will then depend on the type of harassment, the severity, the situation, and the state in which you are in.
How To Deal With Harassment – Tips And Advice:
Just as a little extra, we wanted to include some tips and advice on what to do, and what not to do, if you are being harassed:
Things you should do:
- Ask the person harassing you to stop (as an evidenced warning and petition)
- Communicate your boundaries and make it clear that what you are experiencing is unwanted, and therefore harassment (this will leave no room for the harasser to claim ignorance on the matter)
- Keep any and all evidence of the harassment, as well as a timeline and a summary of everything that you experience (the more documented the case is, the more chances you have of the police helping you)
- Talk to loved ones and to people close to you about the matter (they will be able to back you up, support you, and even serve as witnesses)
Things you should not do:
- Do not answer any attempts of contact from the person harassing you
- Do not retaliate with harassment, let the authorities handle the situation, or else you will also be at fault
- Do not feel ashamed, or guilty. This is not your fault, you are the victim, and do not deserve to be harassed in any way, shape, or form.
- Do not wait for the police to act, take some protective measures of your own, such as informing loved ones, and staying safe.