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The PHA was brought into force on 16 June 1997 and was amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 to include two new specific offences of stalking, through the insertion of sections 2A and 4A.A court dealing with a person convicted of any offence, including those under sections 2, 2A, 4 or 4A of the PHA, may make a restraining order prohibiting the defendant from doing anything described in the order.It is important when considering this type of offending to look at all relevant legislation when formulating charges.This section covers the criminal legislation most relevant to cases of stalking and harassment.

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Prosecutors should note that stalking and harassment of another or others can include a range of offences such as those under: the Protection from Harassment Act 1997; the Offences Against the Person Act 1861; the Sexual Offences Act 2003; and the Malicious Communications Act 1988.Further information can be found at: In this legal guidance, the term harassment is used to cover the 'causing alarm or distress' offences under section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 as amended (PHA), and 'putting people in fear of violence' offences under section 4 of the PHA.The term can also include harassment by two or more defendants against an individual or harassment against more than one victim.This legal guidance addresses behaviour which is repeated and unwanted by the victim and which causes the victim alarm or distress.Cases involving stalking and harassment can be difficult to prosecute, and because of their nature are likely to require sensitive handling, especially with regard to victim care.

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