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Divorce law blog

My ex is harassing me on social media. What can I do to make them stop?

11/12/2018   By: James Edmonds

Stalking or harassment is extremely unpleasant and cruel behaviour that causes upset and distress.  Sadly, the harasser may be an ex-partner. Social media now means that harassment can take many forms and your online safety is paramount.  From hacked accounts to identity theft, from malicious use of your photos to direct threats, the law is able to help you in a number of ways.

  • Report the harassment to the police.  It is a criminal offence for someone to harass you or to put you in fear of violence.  Depending upon the circumstances, there are various criminal offences your ex may have committed and these carry maximum penalties of unlimited fines or 12 months in prison.  The offences cover the use of social media to send threats or grossly offensive messages.
  • As you were in a relationship with your ex, you can apply for a non-molestation injunctions in the family courts which can prevent your ex from contacting you. If your ex breaks the injunction you can report this to the police and the police can then take action against your ex.
  • Block your ex on social networks or report them.  Try to get evidence of the harassment by making copies of any threatening online conversations.  If blocking your ex doesn't stop them, you can contact your internet service provider (ISP), showing them any evidence you've managed to collect to help them investigate the situation.  You can take action against the social media website itself or the ISP but this is not always straightforward.

Practically, make sure you restrict your social media posts to your friends, check your privacy settings on your social media accounts, don’t use the same password for everything and be aware of geolocation and tagging on social networking sites (and how to disable it on your devices).

If you are being harassed by your ex on social media and need advice as to what action you can take, then the experienced family law team at Mills & Reeve will be able to help you.

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