Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) Level 2 (VTQ)

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Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Video 10 of 47
1 min 56 sec
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The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA): Safeguarding Individuals from Harassment

The PHA was established to provide individuals with protection against harassment and similar behaviours. Under this law, it is unlawful to engage in conduct that is considered harassment of another individual. The court has the power to issue a restraining order against any person found guilty of such actions.

Interpretation of Harassment

It's important to note that the PHA does not offer a detailed definition of harassment. Instead, it leaves the interpretation to case-specific evaluations based on the involved circumstances. However, it explicitly declares that any action causing alarm or distress constitutes harassment.

Requirement of a Course of Conduct

It is crucial to note that for a harassment claim to be valid under the PHA, a 'course of conduct' must be evident. This implies that there must be at least two instances of harassment, and the individual perpetrating the harassment should be aware or should have been aware that their actions amounted to harassment. The fewer instances and the larger the time gap between them, the less likely a court will determine that a course of conduct has occurred.

Protection against Collective Harassment

Interestingly, the PHA also offers protection against collective harassment perpetrated by two or more individuals. This clause closes a potential gap in the law, where two or more people commit a single act of harassment each, providing more encompassing protection against harassment.