Thursday, September 29, 2022

How To Report Online Harassment To The Police

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What Steps Should You Take If Youre The Target Of Social Media Harassment

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Windham-Bradstock advised taking the following steps if you become the target of social media harassment.

  • Save screenshots of everything to use as evidence.
  • Notify social media outlets via the channel that they suggest that someone is using your name inappropriately.
  • Use social media channels to connect with decision-makers.

Common Components In State Laws And Regulations

In December 2010, the U.S. Department of Education developed a framework of common components found in state laws, policies, and regulations focused on bullying at the time. The framework was used to describe how schools were taking action to prevent and respond to bullying incidents. The common components found in state laws, policies, and regulations which have evolved over time–include definitions of bullying, defining characteristics that are commonly targeted for bullying behaviors, and detailed requirements for school district policies.

Common Components of State Anti-Bullying Laws and Regulations show the components in each states laws, policies, and regulations, allowing for a quick comparison of how each state compares. Click on a state or territory below to find out more about their anti-bullying laws and policies and which of the key components they contain.

What Happens When You File A Report For Harassment

Firstly, lets 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 cant 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.

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Harassment From A Family Member Or Ex Romantic Partner

If you are being harassed online with threats of violence by someone who is a family member or with whom you had a romantic relationship, there are special laws to protect you. The laws fall under domestic violence and involve obtaining protection from abuse orders or other forms of specialized restraining orders. These orders normally come from a civil family court as opposed to through criminal court. Frequently, you can seek an emergency order if the threat is great enough. In these cases, your best bet is to speak with a family law attorney who handles protection from abuse orders in your jurisdiction. If you cannot afford an attorney, look into domestic violence groups near you. They can often guide you to low cost or free legal advice. You should also call the police under these kinds of situations.

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We Know About Criminal Harassment In Canada

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1.3.1 Police and Court Reported Data

The most current Statistics Canada police and court data relating to criminal harassment reveal the following facts:

From 1999 to 2009, the number of victims of criminal harassment reported to a subset of police servicesFootnote 14 increased by 65%, from 6,411 victims in 1999 to 10,589 victims in 2009.Footnote 15 Such an increase is not uncommon following the introduction of a new law. It is difficult to assess, however, whether the rise is due to an increase in the number of criminal harassment incidents, increased reporting by victims, or a change in the way police respond to and record such incidents.

1.3.2 Victim/Survivor Survey Reports

Given that over half of the people who are criminally harassed do not report this crime to police,Footnote 16 it is helpful to look at sources other than police-reported data to get a more complete picture of criminal harassment in Canada. Statistics Canadaâs General Social Survey on Victimization provides self-reported data on criminal victimization. It is an important complement to crime rates, as it measures both crime incidents that come to the attention of the police and those that are unreported. The 2004 GSS reveals the following facts about criminal harassment:Footnote 17

Risk Factors
Characteristics of the Stalking
Impact on Victims

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Prepare Information On The Abuser For The Report

If you want the police to protect you as soon as possible, you will need to provide certain information about the abuser. Here are some details that can be of great help in tracking the offender and protecting you from further harassment:

  • Name
    • Using a carriage service to harass, make threats, or harm a user in any other way

    What Else Can You Do To Get Rid Of The Bully In Your Life

    Dont suffer in silenceharassment is more prevalent than you think, and youre not alone in it. If youre struggling to take action against the person thats repeatedly threatening, humiliating, or intimidating you, remember that theyre thriving on your tacit endurance. The sentiment is best captured in the words of Anita Hill, an American lawyer who brought allegations of sexual harassment against Clarence Thomas :

    We need to turn the question around to look at the harasser, not the target. We need to be sure that we can go out and look at anyone who is a victim of harassment in the eye and tell them they do not have to remain silent anymore.

    Here is a simple overview of things you should and should not do if youre dealing with a bully in your life.

    Dos

    • Talk to your loved ones about what youre going through
    • Ignore the issue and let it go unpunished

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    How To Report Harassment The Easiest Way With Donotpay

    Harassment can happen to anyone, anywhere. It could happen in the workplace, on the street, over the phone, and on the often conveniently anonymous internet. You could be harassed by anyone, including former lovers, your neighbors, or your landlord. The official statistics on different types of harassment in the U.S. are concerningly high across the board, which probably means that the real picture is even grimmer.

    So, what does it mean when somebody is harassing you? Sadly, there is more than one answer to this question. Harassment is an umbrella term that can cover a multitude of different types of abuse. Under U.S. laws, harassment is described as any repeated or uninvited contact that serves no useful purpose beyond creating alarm, annoyance, or emotional distress.

    As a society, we are at risk of getting desensitized to harassment and bullying. This is all the more reason to educate ourselves, speak up, and stand up against the abuse.

    Coding Or Scoring Files For Incidents

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    Many police agencies collect statistical information on criminal harassment incidents. As of August 2005, the RCMP and other police services have been using the Uniform Crime Reporting Scoring System. To search files prior to 2005, criminal harassment cases can be searched under the Operational Statistical Reporting System .

    Under the UCR system, the scoring for criminal harassment is spelled out, however, the specific scoring and sub-scoring is 1625.0010.

    Police agencies using the OSR system of coding or scoring files for incidents of criminal harassment should follow the OSR tables, as follows:

    • code: AC41
    • nature of event: criminal harassment or stalking crimes

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    Increase Your Personal Cybersecurity

    Stop perpetrators from gaining any access to your private information by upping your cybersecurity measures. Change your passwords to strong, un-crackable keys that include randomized numbers, letters, and symbols, and dont ever use the same password for multiple sites. We recommend checking out different password managers to make this as easy as possible. Additionally, enable two-factor authentication when appropriate and keep personal & professional online accounts separate.

    What Are The Most Common Types Of Online Harassment

    The most common types of online bullying and harassment in California include:

    • Cyberbullying,
    • Online extortion and sextortion, and
    • Swatting.

    Cyberbullying

    Cyberbullying is the bullying or harassment of a child via electronic means and commonly occurs across a wide spectrum of platforms and applications, including social media, SMS texts, and online gaming forums .

    Cyberstalking

    Cyberstalking is a form of electronic harassment that involves the repeated and unwanted stalking of an individual. Cyberstalkers typically track a targets behavior or monitor their whereabouts without permission and make unwanted, threatening electronic contact with said target.

    Revenge Porn

    Revenge porn, commonly referred to as nonconsensual pornography, involves the distribution of intimate images without consent. Revenge porn does not always require revenge as a motive and may occur as a form of extortion or even with no known motive.

    Video: What to Do If Someone is Sharing Your Intimate Images Without Consent

    Doxxing

    Doxxing involves the release of personally-identifying information about an individual and commonly includes the individuals address, phone number, email address, social security number, or other sensitive financial information.

    For doxxing to occur, personally-identifying information must typically be released for the purpose of threatening or harming the targeted individual.

    Online Extortion & Sextortion

    Swatting

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    How To Document Harassment

    Advice everywhere tells you to document everything, gather all evidence and report online harassment to the police, as we do too, regardless of our knowledge that the police do not have the resources to help generally. This is because documenting everything helps the police understand the issues and the impact of the harassment on you as a victim. It also gives the police a reasonably good starting point to take matters further.

    Furthermore, any evidence you gather of the harassment might help the police to build up a crime report and later on will enable you to take your case to the civil court where you might be able to find faster and more effective remedies against your harasser.

    What Qualifies As Harassment

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    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
    • Secondly, prove that what was said or done to you, was out of an intent to torment, scare, threaten, or embarrass you.

    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.

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    Can You Sue Someone For Harassing You Online

    Yes, you may sue someone for civil wrongs such as defamation, harassment, and public disclosure of private fact that has occurred online. The object of such cases is to compensate the victim for any injury resulting from the civil wrong and impose liability on perpetrators of harmful acts. Additionally, in certain circumstances, filing a lawsuit is a necessary step in unmasking fake accounts.

    Major Forms Of Phone Harassment

    Even though phone harassment comes it many forms, they all share a very common similarity which is that they rob you of your privacy and sense of security. Here are the most common forms of phone harassment.

    1. Blocked or No Caller ID Calls

    Blocked or no caller ID phone calls are phone calls where it is not possible to view the incoming caller ID number. To place a blocked call from a landline or smartphone, all you need to do is dial *67 before the phone number you want to call. More often than not, someone that is calling you with no visible caller ID, and they do not want to reveal their identity, usually dont have your well-being in mind.

    2. Robocalls & Spam Calls

    This is another very common form of phone harassment. Every month in the United States alone, about 3 billion unwanted spam and telemarketing calls flood consumers smartphones.

    Spam calls, especially those that are illegal, are a form of phone harassment that pose a severe threat to the security of your personal and financial information. Phone scammers pose as the IRS, banks, and loan services and call you in attempts to steal from you over the phone.

    Another tactic that is used for placing spam calls is known as neighbor spoofing. This is a form of harmful caller ID spoofing that allows spammers to place calls that look like they are coming from a phone number in your local area code. This way, people will be more likely to pick up the call because it looks familiar to them.

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    Bomb Threats By Telephone

    If you receive a bomb threat over the telephone, Ready.gov provides the following information on what to do:

    • Get as much information from the caller as possible. Try to ask the following questions:
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • Where is it right now?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What will cause it to explode?
    • Did you place the bomb?
  • Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said.
  • Notify the police and building management immediately.
  • The Department of Homeland Security also provides a helpful telephone bomb threat checklist.

    Get more information on what to do if you receive a bomb threat or find a suspicious item.

    Advice To The Complainant

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    Remind complainants that the potential threat remains, even if they have reported the incident to police and/or obtained a restraining order. Advise them that they have a primary role to play in ensuring their own safety. Recognize that, although it is not fair, victims may be required to alter their lifestyle and usual routines, schedules, transportation routes and places regularly frequented. Emphasize the importance of self-care in order to avoid extreme stress and exhaustion, which may decrease their ability to stay alert or follow a safety plan.Footnote 93

    Advise the complainant not to initiate contact with the suspect or agree to such contact.

    Advise complainants to tell the stalker to leave them alone only once and not to respond to the stalker’s subsequent communications, regardless of whether they are threatening or polite. Victims should also avoid trying to bargain or reason with the stalker, as such actions may be perceived by the stalker as encouragement or a sign of weakness, and thus increase the potential risk of harm to the victims.Footnote 94

    Advise the complainant to maintain a log of all contact with the suspect, including drive-bys and all unusual events, no matter how trivial they seem or whether they can be definitively attributed to the suspect. Advise the complainant that this includes keeping records of any indirect contact the suspect initiates by having the suspect’s friends and relatives contact the complainant on the suspect’s behalf.

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    What Is The Cost Of Suing Someone For Online Harassment

    There are financial, emotional, and possible social costs for any case involving interpersonal harassment and abuse. If youre considering taking legal action, prepare to be questioned about your experience and for details surrounding the harassment to be made public in court. Initial court fees for filing a civil suit can be anywhere from $400-$1,000, and fees to investigative teams and attorneys can often start between $5,000-$10,000 in online harassment cases. Victims of harassment should also be aware that proving cyber crimes in court using evidence from social media can be a tricky business, and not all cases will be successful.

    At Bosco Legal Services, we offer comprehensive social media investigation services that give you the highest chance of success when pursuing a cyber harassment case in court. Explore our court resources for more information, or contact us to learn more about stopping online harassment.

    Take 5 Steps For Better Online Security

    Its important to strengthen your online security to help avoid all types of online scams. Take action to improve your digital posture by following these steps:

  • Implement Multi Factor Authentication : Passwords are generally easy for scammers to crack, and even if you use strong passphrases, theres still the possibility that a cybercriminal can obtain your passphrase in a data breach. Implementing MFA is a great way to maximize your security and ensure that you are the only one who can gain access to your accounts. MFA should be implemented on all accounts where it is available. Check your accounts security settings to see if it is something you can set up.
  • Update Your Privacy Settings: Privacy settings allow you to control your personal information and how that information is used. Review your privacy settings on all of your accounts including your social media accounts. Consider restricting who can see your friends list, contacts, photos and posts.
  • Activate Automatic Updates: Automatic updates are a set of changes to an app, software or operating system that are automatically pushed by the developer to fix or improve it. Oftentimes, cybercriminals take advantage of security flaws to plant malicious software on your devices. By activating automatic updates, you will automatically patch security vulnerabilities to protect your data.
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