Can the Police Do Anything About Online Harassment?

Have you been a victim of cyber stalking or any other form of online harassment? If so, you are not alone in this problem. According to Statista, it was found that 44% of Internet users experienced some form of online harassment. More importantly, the same study shows that 28% of the respondents faced sexual harassment, threats of physical violence, stalking, and other forms of severe online harassment. 

Online harassment can cause serious troubles, especially because you can never be sure whether it will turn into real-life harassment. To avoid further complications, you must act fast and find a proper way to protect yourself. 

Can You Report Cyber Harassment to the Police?

Yes, you can, and you should report cyber harassment if you feel that you’re in immediate danger. We understand that you might feel scared or embarrassed, but if the situation becomes alarming, you will need the police to protect you. 

According to the Pew Research Center, online harassment can have serious consequences, from fear for one’s safety to mental issues. You shouldn’t wait to experience any of these before you turn to the police for help.

What Can the Police Do About Harassment?

There are certain limitations to what the police can do to protect you from online harassment. Whether they can do something about online harassment or not mostly depends on several factors:

  1. The severity of the abuse
  2. The abuser’s location
  3. How long the harassment lasted
  4. Whether there’s enough evidence to prove your accusations  

How to File a Police Report For Harassment?

If you decide to go to the police, you should learn more about the process of filing a report to be prepared for each step. Keep in mind that the reporting procedures might differ from state to state, but some crucial things will certainly be required to file a police report:

  1. Evidence of online harassment
  2. Description of your relationship with the abuser
  3. As many details as possible about the abuser’s harassing act

When you know what exactly you’re going to include in the report (so you don’t miss anything of crucial importance), you can call the police or go to your local police station. 

Depending on your particular situation, you might need to talk to a specialist police officer. For instance, if your situation includes domestic violence, you can turn to a Domestic Violence Officer.

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:

  1. Name
  2. Email address
  3. Social media account details
  4. Username 
  5. Phone number

How Does the Law Protect You From Online Harassment?

There are no laws specific to online harassment because this form of abuse is still relatively new, but there are laws covering other forms of abuse that can protect you even if you’re abused online, including the following:

  • Stalking
  • Blackmail
  • Unlawful use of technology 
  • Using a carriage service to harass, make threats, or harm a user in any other way

How to Stop Online Harassment?

Before you report online harassment to the police, you might want to consider other ways to put an end to disturbing behavior. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind to fight back against cyber harassment effectively:

What to Do

How to Do It

Resist the urge to respond 

Keep in mind that the abuser expects your reaction to their harassing behavior. No matter how disturbing the content you’ve received is, don’t respond to it in any way.

Resist the urge to delete abusive content

When you manage to fight the urge to respond, the next challenge is to fight your instinct telling you to delete the abusive content right away. Without evidence, you cannot prove that you’ve been harassed, so it’s crucial that you save the abusive content as proof. 

Block the abuser

Use all the tools you can to block the abuser. If you’re being harassed on social media, you have the option to block anyone who’s disturbed you. If the abuser starts making harassing phone calls, you can use blocking apps.

Report the aggressor to the social media representatives

Another useful option that social media platforms give you is to report the abuser. If blocking doesn’t work, do not hesitate to turn to the social media representatives and report the person in question.

How to Deal With Harassment on Facebook?

Did you know that, according to Statista, 77% of online harassment victims reported that they had been harassed via Facebook? If you find yourself in this situation, here are the tools that Facebook offers to help you deal with harassment:

  • Unfriend the abuser
  • Block the person
  • Report the person or their abusive posts

In case the offender starts bothering you in messages on Facebook, there are a few steps specific to that situation that you should take, including the following:

  • Block messages from that person
  • Report the threatening message
  • Click on Ignore Messages
  • Delete the conversation

If you decide to delete the conversation, don’t forget to take a screenshot first so that you have proof of harassment for future use if need be.

Another useful thing you can do on Facebook is report harassment even if you’re not the victim, but your friend is. 

Facebook gives you an option to report posts that show hate speech, violence or harmful behavior, or sexually explicit content.

DoNotPay Can Help You Fight Online Harassment

Fox details how DoNotPay makes it easier to fight companies by suing them in small claims court

If you can’t seem to put an end to online harassment and the police can’t do anything to help you, don’t worry—DoNotPay has got you covered. We understand just how frustrating it must be to be dealing with this problem, so we want to protect you and make sure you solve the problem in a few simple steps. When you rely on DoNotPay, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Log in to your DoNotPay account via the web browser or your iOS app
  2. Scroll to the Relationship Protection section
  3. Select Safety and Stalking
  4. Type in the name of the perpetrator (if you know it)
  5. Let DoNotPay contact the social media representatives to report the abuser for serious online harassment and ask for their account to be investigated. We will also ask the representatives to block the person in question on your behalf and prevent them from contacting you

DoNotPay Can Help You Many Other Issues

You don’t know what it means when someone is harassing you? You don’t know how to stop a stalker? Whatever type of harassment you might be facing, we’ve got you covered, and we can do much more than that. You can use our app when you’re struggling with bureaucracy, or you’ve been wronged and want to get the justice you deserve. All you need to do is log in to your DoNotPay account via the web browser or your iOS app. You can then choose from a wide range of services, including: