Is someone always contacting you without your permission? Does this person follow you everywhere, and are you afraid? When does this behaviour become a crime?
What Is Criminal Harassment?
Criminal harassment is when :
- someone behaves in a way that makes you afraid that you, or someone you know, is not safe, and
- the person behaving that way (the stalker) knows that you are afraid, or doesn’t care whether you are afraid.
Important! Not all harassment is a crime. For example, if harassment happens at work or involves a co-worker, this is not necessarily a crime. To learn more about harassment at work, refer to our articles in the “Work” section of our website.
When Is Harassment a Crime?
Harassment is a crime when these elements are present:
1. The stalker does one of these things:
- repeatedly follows the victim or someone the victim knows
- repeatedly contacts the victim or someone the victim knows
- watches the victim’s home, place of work, or anywhere else the victim or someone known to the victim is, even if this only happens once
- acts in a threatening way toward the victim or a member of the victim’s family, even if this only happens once
2. The victim feels harassed.
3. The stalker knows that the victim feels harassed by the behaviour, or ignores the fact that the victim might feel harassed.
4. The victim fears for his safety or the safety of someone he knows.
5. The victim’s fear is reasonable under the circumstances.
Penalties for Criminal Harassment
If a person is found guilty of criminal harassment, the maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.