Harassment Prevention Order – Explained by an Expert Attorney
In the Harassment Prevention Law, 2001 the legislature provided a legal procedure for filing a restraining order against a person who is harassing in a threatening way.
The law states that harassment can consist of: following someone, stalking or observing them, offensive threats made in writing or orally, defamation, harming property, etc.
In this article, Michael Decker, a Jerusalem-based attorney with the law offices of Cohen, Decker, Pex, and Brosh, explains briefly the essence of a harassment order, who may request it, and its ramifications.
Who may request a harassment prevention order?
A request for a harassment prevention order may be filed by:
- The person harmed by the harassment, or someone on their behalf;
- The Attorney General
- A police prosecutor
Any of the parties listed above may fill out an application form that details the circumstances surrounding the request, the reasons for it, the applicant and respondent’s information, and an affidavit by the applicant.
The request is submitted to the Magistrate’s Court. If the harasser is a family member, the request may also be submitted to a family court. If the subject of the request is a minor, the request may be submitted to a juvenile court.
The request can be filed in the presence of one side only. The hearing on the request, however, will be held in the presence of both sides, so that the court can hear the alleged harasser’s arguments before deciding whether or not to issue the order.
Under what circumstances can a harassment prevention order be requested?
- An act of harassment has occurred.
- The harasser’s behavior provides a reasonable basis to conclude that the harassment poses a danger to the applicant; by way of physical harm or sex crimes.
- Prior to the applicant’s request for the order, the harasser committed a sex crime or imprisoned someone
In practice, in any one of the above circumstances, it is possible to petition the relevant court for a harassment prevention order.
Receiving a harassment prevention order from the court
The hearing on a request for a harassment prevention order is held in the presence of both sides (unlike a request for a harassment prevention order which can be submitted in the presence of one side), and the court may either approve or reject the request.
If the court instructs that the order be issued, it can forbid one of the following:
- Making any form of contact with the applicant
- Being in the applicant’s habitual vicinity
- Committing any form of harassment
- Possessing a weapon, even for work purposes
Validity of a harassment prevention order
From the time a harassment prevention order is issued, it is valid for half a year. However, the court is authorized to extend the order for up to a year. The legislature authorized the court to extend the order further under special circumstances, up to a maximum of two years.
Contact a law firm that specializes in obtaining or cancelling harassment prevention orders
A person who feels that they are experiencing a substantive threat to life, body, or property can file a request for a harassment prevention order. However, as with any request submitted to a court, valuable time and resources can be saved by seeking the assistance of an attorney who specializes in the field.
An improperly filed request may be deemed by the court to be spiteful or badgering and the court is even authorized to impose expenses on the applicant for filing such a request. Therefore, if you are seeking to file such a request, it is advisable to contact an expert attorney, well-versed in the issue of harassment prevention orders, to receive the best professional assistance.