Monday, 25 January 2016

What Should I Do If I Have Been Stalked In Singapore?

While walking down the street, do you feel like somebody is following you? Or when you are at work, do you feel uneasy as if someone is watching you? Or is it that you are noticing a certain someone wherever you go? If your answer to anyone of these questions is “yes”, then know that you have a stalker.

Do not take these feelings or intuition or actual proof too lightly! Being stalked (including cyber stalking) is very serious, and it will affect you in a negative way. So, what should you do now? Leave Singapore and move to another country with a new identity? Or lock your doors and windows and hide under the covers? Neither! This is because; you have the Protection from Harassment Act 2014.

Is this mean end of being stalked?
According to this Act; if you have been stalked and want to get rid of the person who is stalking you then you can do that by applying for protection in the Court.

This Act is definitely a bad news for any kind of stalker as this landmark legislation recognizes stalking as an offence. Besides stalking, some of the other offences that were laid out in Protection from Harassment Act 2014 are:

- Causing distress
- Causing alarm
- Causing fear
- Harassment
- Threatening
- Provoking an act of violence
- Insulting and/or abusing a public service worker or public servant.

Can this Act help you effectively?

If you feel that the Protection from Harassment Act cannot help you out or will not be applicable for your case, then know that it will be able to help you if you are being stalked regardless the method or mode.

To help you understand this better here are some hypothetical cases put in front of you. If you are dealing with any one or all of these imagined cases then get ready to say bye to your stalker as the following cases are offences that can be stop via legal help.

Case 1: Unlawful stalking like activities

- Suppose your stalker happens to:
- Participate in activities that can be related to stalking
- Be aware that his/her behavior will result into distress, alarm and harassment for you.
- Here are some examples to explain this well:
- Loitering in any place where you are present
- Following you
- Sending or giving material
- Keeping you under surveillance and other such activities.

If you are dealing with these situations then you can get riddance from being stalked with the help of this Act.

Case 2: Cyber alarm, harassment or distress
If your classmate or roommate or ex-partner posted an improper tirade against you on a social media website or any other website that is accessible to all your friends, family and acquaintances like:

- Posting threats to you or about you
- Posting anything abusive or insulting
- Posting a photo or video that you didn’t give consent to.
- Again in any one or all of these cases you can use this Act to get rid of your stalker.

Case 3: Intentional sexual harassment, distress and alarm
Suppose in any way are person like your co-worker is acting or speaking in a threatening, insulting or abusive way that is sexual in nature, then in also in this case you can seek help via this Act.

Here are some examples to explain this well:

- Spending emails or text to other co-workers about your body
- Spending any sort of gifts to you even when you asked to not to do that
- Circulating revealing pictures or videos without your consent.
- Loudly or graphically describing or stating anything sexual about you to others even though you can hear it.

Ways to get relief via this Act

So, these were some cases in which the Protection from Harassment Act 2014 can help you. But you can only use this Act to your advantage if you understand everything related to it better.

So, to make sure that you can truly bring down the reign of terror to your stalker here are some fact about this Act that you need to know:

Protection Order

This Act will allow the victim i.e. you the ability to apply for a Protection Order directly from the Court. This will direct the person who is stalking you to stop his/her harassing or stalking like behavior. In fact, this order will also direct any third party to stop downloading or re-publishing or spreading that your stalker put out there to harass you.

If the Court feels that your case is a matter of urgency, then you can also get the benefit of Expedited Protection Order immediately. You need to pay a certain amount (300-500 SGD) to lodge the complaint. If you feel that the amount is too much then you can take the help of Legal Aid Bureau.

Effective Outside Singapore

The best thing about this Act is that it is not only applicable on stalking in the physical world but also in the virtual world too. Because of the growing use of internet and different social media platforms, it has become easy for a person to cause distress to a Singaporean even if the person happens to live thousands of miles away. So, if your stalker lives outside of Singapore and is stalking you online then know that you can take the help of this Act. But, do understand that there are certain conditions needed to be complied.

Prove your innocence

Suppose your harasser provides a false statement to save his/her skin, and because of that statement you were proven wrong in court. This may be a matter of concern but, if you can prove the Court that your stalker has provided a false statement via any sort of compelling evidence then you will get to enjoy the desired outcome.

Perks of Penalties

If you think that the Act cannot stop the person who is stalking you then think again. If your stalker breaches the Expedited Protection Order or Protection Order then his/her action will be considered as a criminal offence and that person will be have to pay a hefty penalty. The person will have to either pay a fine of 5000 SGD (maximum) or have 12 months (maximum) of prison time. And, for repeated offenders its 10000 SGD and/or 24 months prison time (maximum).

Now you know how the Protection from Harassment Act 2014 can help you if you have been stalked. So, if you want to feel safe again do immediately seek legal help.