• Cyberbullying victim obtains order of protection against bully

    Date: 04.29.11 | by Judge Tom.

    One way to deal with either a bully or cyberbully is to seek an Order of Protection from a court. Sometimes referred to as “restraining order” or ” injunction against harassment,” these are common requests to judges across the country. Once granted and the bully is served with the court order, any violation of the Order may be contempt of court and punishable.

    A 16 year old boy at North Andover High School in Massachusetts was charged in March, 2011, with violating a harassment order that had been issued against him. The police served the court’s order on the boy and explained it to him. Two days later, he allegedly made comments to the student. Then he allegedly put derogatory statements about his target on Facebook, after being told to have no contact in any way with the victim. The boy’s case is being handled in juvenile court.

    Bill Bradford (Flickr)

    Courts don’t issue orders of protection without good reason. They are to be taken seriously and may result in jail time if violated. The order may restrict a person from all contact with another person, or set limitations on the type of contact, frequency and location. For example, if you get a protective order against someone who has stalked or assaulted you, it will cover all methods of communication including online, by cell phone and even a distance (yards or miles) he or she must stay away from you. It can also include your work place, gym, school, church, etc. When applying for an order, explain to the judge exactly what happened and why you need the order of protection.

    Usually an order lasts a year or other specified period of time. If justified, they may be renewed by the court. A person who is served with an order can oppose it by asking the court for a hearing. Then the judge will decide to keep it in place, modify it or dismiss it.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    14 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Fri, 29 Apr 2011 at 05:05

      Cyberbullying victim obtains order of protection against bully http://bit.ly/kIuuas

    • Rachel Field
      Wed, 29 Jun 2011 at 12:46

      What level of severity is required to request a restraining order for cyber bullying?

      I have a former housemate who recently moved out and is frequently sending disturbing texts in regard to suing me. This comes in addition to written threats about receiving his security deposit while he was living here. His deposit balance was returned and the locks have been changed but the continued text messages are very stressful.

      I have avoided any response and waiting to resolve any disagreement via court. I don’t know if I have sufficient context though to get a restraining order around this issue.

      Dear Rachel: If you feel threatened by these texts and they continue to be sent, you can ask a court to issue a protective (restraining) order against the sender. Every state has laws regarding harassment, stalking and threatening behavior. You can discuss this with a lawyer but it’s not required that you hire a lawyer to obtain a protective order. Simply go to the closest court and ask about the procedure. You’ll be asked to complete a form and you’ll most likely see a judge or hearing officer to explain the situation. He or she will decide if there are sufficient grounds to issue the order. Once served on the individual, the order goes into effect. Good luck and be safe.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney Matt Ingham
      Mon, 04 Jul 2011 at 07:55

      Protective Orders are not enough. These victims deserve more than just protection, they deserve justice. My hope is that lawmakers across the US will continue to move the ball forward in this area by passing laws that crack down on the perpetrators of cyberbullying.

    • sophia
      Tue, 12 Jul 2011 at 08:38

      Hi. I’m fourteen and was cyber bullied through out my eighth grade year. I was also bullied at school. It was mainly verbal, but the girl who mainly targeted me is now at my high school and i don’t feel safe around her. she is constantly trying to talk to me. I would like a restraining order but my parents won’t agree. Any suggestions?
      Dear Sophia: First, don’t keep whatever is going on with this girl or other bullies a secret. If it continues, tell your parents and explain to them how it makes you feel. You can also tell a school counselor, teacher, nurse and/or resource officer if your school has one. Once the school is aware of the ongoing bullying, they have a duty to take action to see that it stops. Your parents can also speak with the bully’s parents and ask them to talk to their daughter. There’s a good chance that you are not the only student being bullied or picked on by this girl or her friends. There are some great websites that offer advice in these cases: take a look at NetSmartz Teens at: http://www.nsteens.org/ContactUs or http://www.wiredsafety.org for useful information. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Andree
      Mon, 28 Nov 2011 at 12:40

      I am constantly getting emails from someone i’ve never actually met, she is in the USA and I am in Canada, she has admitted to others that she has access to my online accounts and is making false accusations about me behind my back, I am not sure what to do, hotmail no longer offers the option to block people and I don’t know if she hiding behind a fake profile online to view all of my acitvity, I do have have her whole legal name and the city she resides in, do you think this is enough to possibly get something to prevent her from continuing this? She is also 23 years older than me and I find this behavior very sickening.
      Dear Andree: We suggest you report this to your email provider. You can also notify the police in your area as well as the police where this person lives if you know her location in the U.S. Many police departments have personnel assigned to handle internet safety and violations. You could also look into obtaining a protective order from a court – sometimes called a restraining order against her. If she violates the order, she may be held in contempt of court and punished accordingly. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Who?
      Thu, 12 Jan 2012 at 06:09


    • Amy-Jayne
      Fri, 14 Dec 2012 at 08:36

      I have a guy at school who is constantly saying mean and offensive things to me over a school website. I am moving soon and he says ” the only people who are gonna miss you are catie and Shelby” and he keeps saying things like that. I want to make him leave me alone, what should I do?
      Dear Amy-Jayne: First, tell your parents. Too many students think discussing these situations with their parents will make it worse. They are there to protect you. Since you’re changing schools, you can help another teen from becoming this guy’s next target. The school most likely has rules about the use of computers especially if it’s a school website. He is abusing the privilege of posting on it and he needs to be called on this behavior. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Patricia
      Sun, 13 Jan 2013 at 06:05

      There is a site called Dirty Phone Book, I am a very moral church going person and I am completely offended by the ANONYMOUS cyberbully. Not only did I report this to IC3 and to the local and now State Police I have also a copyright issue with my name and have addressed this with DMCA and Google who admitted they would take the related info off off yet it remains can I sue all entities for years of the site illegally alowing my name and image to be posted on a site made to Cyber bully maiony people around the nation. If so what kind of Lawyer do I seek
      Dear Patricia: We’re sorry to hear about your situation. You will need to speak with an attorney who handles copyright infringement, online harassment, etc. Since you are considering a lawsuit, you would need to speak with an attorney who practices civil law. Also, you may want to follow up with the police to find out whether or not criminal charges will be filed. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Rachel
      Thu, 31 Jan 2013 at 06:35

      Does it work to file an order of protection against someone who lives out of the country and is threatening to move where you are?

      I’ve been receiving harassing emails and text messages from my boyfriend’s ex and her friends for 3 weeks. I’ve recently changed my number, but I know she won’t leave us alone. She lives in Canada and we live in the States. Can I even file an order of protection against her since she’s threatening to come here? She texted my address to me this morning and it’s REALLY freaking me out now.
      Dear Rachel: We’re sorry to hear about your circumstances and understand your wanting an order of protection. The laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but considering the person is usually served with notice of the order and is given the opportunity to be heard in court, it might not be possible to obtain on this person out of the country. However, you should consider calling the police so that a report can be made. Depending on your state’s laws, she may be committing illegal harassment/cyber-stalking acts. If this is the case and charges are filed, she could be picked up if she attempts to cross the border or come into your state. Also, try contacting the clerk’s office at your local court to find the laws and process for filing an order of protection in your county. Finally, be sure to save any of the harassing emails/texts as they could be used as evidence. Good luck and take care.
      (This is information only – not legal advice.)

    • Megan
      Thu, 21 Mar 2013 at 11:34

      A mother is constantly stalking my profile, going farther then a year back on my timeline and using other peoples profiles to be able to see mine. Even after I blocked her and her family. Her daughter and I go to school. They have made climes I have cyber bullied her daughter or harassed her at school, which is a false allegation, slandered my mothers name on her profile (which ended with a death threat to my mother) and is intensity trying to get me expelled from my school. The school seems to have no control over the situation. I do not know if I have a case to get a restraining order against the mother and possibly her daughter. I feel forced out of my school and have thought many a time about transferring.
      Dear Megan: We suggest you report what’s happening to the police. This lady may have broken some laws that exist in your state such as harassing, threatening or stalking. You can also, as you mentioned, go to any court and request a protective order against this person. The judge will explain the process to you and if the facts of your case support a restraining order. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • T
      Sun, 21 Apr 2013 at 10:51

      If my cyberstalker is in another state, can I file and enforce a protection order from my state? ALSO will it protect from him leaving comments on youtube or other people’s blogs etc.?

      If you are able to help me get someone to leave me alone and stop stalking me, please let me know. The authorities Cannot and Will not help (until I’ve already been murdered by this guy – who obsesses over me 24/7). The legal system is worthless for protecting against stalkers. I thought about posting his name and address right here – But not sure if that is legal for me to do. I don’t want to stoop to his level or get in trouble. If nobody can help, then I will probably just decide to show up at his doorstep and let him kill me and get it over with already, I’m tired of running and this is my last hope.
      Dear T: If you have already talked to the police and haven’t received any help, we suggest you speak with a supervisor or someone up the chain-of-command. Every state has laws regarding stalking, harassment or threatening behavior including protective orders against someone from contacting you. These laws are meant to be enforced. You could also contact your local prosecutor and ask for assistance. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Nathan
      Fri, 28 Jun 2013 at 07:31

      I live in the US and dated a girl who was from Australia. She made a mess of her life and situations and pushed me away.
      Her behavior has been all over the place. Sometimes she would communicated and other times disappear.
      She wrote me recently and threatened me with a restraining order because I contacted her.
      I have never threatened her.
      She is doing this in an attempt to get even with me because she isn’t doing well in her life and I was right about everything.
      I am no longer going to contact her. I don’t even visit her anymore… This has all been through email.
      Should I be concerned about this threat at all? Can she do anything against me?

      Thank you for your help, I’m worried and feel betrayed… I’m sure there are many people who abuse the restraining order too…
      Dear Nathan: Anyone at any time can go to court and request a restraining or protective order. In most states, if it’s granted by the court, it doesn’t go into effect until it’s served on you. Then you have so many days, for example ten, to respond to it. If you oppose it you have a right to a hearing and they are scheduled quickly. There you have the chance to explain to the judge why you think it should be dismissed. It’s up to the court to either keep it in place or dismiss it. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Y.P.
      Mon, 30 Dec 2013 at 08:46

      I’m 18 years old now but I started getting cyber bullied when i was 17. It started three months after I started dating my boyfriend. Ever since she has been stalking me on different social networks. First it was on instagram leaving hateful comments and making fake profiles impersonating me. So I deleted my account. Now its all on facebook where she will not leave me alone its almost been a year now. I have all the evidence of every comment she has done. I did go to the police once before when she started harassing me but they really didn’t do anything because they said she didn’t threaten me. I was wondering if it is still possible to get a restraining order against her? If not is there anything else I can do to make this stop.
      Dear Y.P.: It is always possible to obtain a restraining order from a court. You don’t need a lawyer to do this. Just go to your local court and ask about the process. You’ll have to explain to a judge or hearing officer what’s going on and if you feel threatened or intimidated. Bring your documents with you to show the judge. Good luck.
      (This is information only – not legal advice).

    • Neena
      Thu, 11 Sep 2014 at 06:13

      Hello, We are being harassed by a patient online. She came to us for eye exam and contact lenses. She paid only $10/- and was expecting to get 8 boxes of contacts. After talking to the Insurance I learnt that the Insurance can give upto 8 boxes but not 8 boxes. The patient was told the same . She started yelling and screaming and I had to call 911 for her to be removed from the office. She recorded on her phone when I told her to” Please get out of my office”. 911 also listened to what was recorded. 911 officers spoke to Insurance and then told her to get out of the office. She asked for glasses and contacts Rx. She was given glasses Rx as she had not paid any contact lens exam services. We have till date not claimed any money for Contact lens exam services and Contact lens materials. The patients starts putting reviews online on Rate MD, Health Grade, Facebook, Google. Today she even said the we are doing Insurance Fraud online!!! this is a false statement that is hurting our office reputation and Business. We have to stop her from doing this. Kindly help. I also have a letter from Insurance that she has an option to get another eye exam and contacts from an another provider. Please let us know how to get her to stop ONLINE ABUSE and harassment. In the meantime some of our patients have given positive reviews. Thanks, Neena
      Dear Neena: AsktheJudge.info is an educational site for and about teens and the law. You and your employer may want to consult with a local attorney who handles civil claims if her behavior online continues. You could threaten the possibility of filing a claim for libel and/or defamation against her and maybe the threat alone will help make her stop. Good luck.
      (Check our Resource Directory for more help and resources in your area. This is information only – not legal advice.)

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