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It can be frustrating to be the victim of harassment, especially if you are dealing with it indirectly, such as through text messages. Many perpetrators believe that if they are not issuing the harassment in person, they can get away with it.
The truth is, however, that as long as you follow certain guidelines and ensure that you are reporting and saving the texts properly. This means following the recommendations of law enforcement officials is the best way to get text harassment to stop.
Are you wondering what the police can do about harassing texts that you may be receiving? If so, read on to learn how to report and what happens once you do.
Is Harassment by Text Illegal?
When it comes to harassment, there are specific laws in place to protect victims from this continuing to happen. This is even true when the harassment is coming in the form of text messages or other mobile or internet sources.
In some cases, it may seem like the law enforcement agency that you are working with are not sure what they should be doing. This is mostly because many do not lack the proper training on this issue of jurisdiction.
The truth is, however, that harassment is illegal no matter what format it occurs in, including in person, through social media, and even through phone calls or text messages. If you are experiencing any of these issues, you should understand that it is referred to as cyberbullying and is against the law.
The bottom line is that if you or someone you know is being harassed via text messages or any other method, they must report it to the authorities as soon as possible. The law enforcement agency will ask you to file a report that most likely entails several steps.
How do You Report Harassing Texts?
If you are the victim of harassment via text messages, it is your responsibility to report it to law enforcement as soon as possible. They will likely have you make a report stating all of the facts that you have about the situation.
They will also need to collect evidence that is directly related to the case to ensure that what you are saying in the report is true. Several steps typically occur when you are reporting a crime and it is important to ensure that you are following them carefully.
Want to know how to report harassing texts? Keep reading to find out how.
Keep the Harassing Texts
One of the first things you will be asked for when you file a report of harassment is whether or not you have proof. This is why most law enforcement agencies ask you to make sure you keep the texts as proof of the crime.
You can do this by either leaving the texts on your phone as they showed up, or even taking a screenshot of the texts. It is also a good idea to either download or print them off so that you can provide further evidence if asked.
Get a Copy of Your Phone Records
Most mobile phone service providers keep a copy of the records that show your activity on your mobile device for up to a period. In most cases, you can access your own on your account which can then be downloaded.
If your service provider does not offer this as an option that you can download, then you can as them for the records. In most cases the police will do this, however, it does not hurt to be proactive and ask in advance.
The best way to get the police to take you seriously is to show them your information and evidence that has been organized. To get your point across and to make it easier for the police, you can compile your evidence together in one place for easy access.
The information you provide to law enforcement should include your contact information, the images or actual text messages, show a time and date stamp of when they started, and if possible, what you have done to get them to stop. Keep in mind that this should only be you telling them to stop harassing you and nothing else.
Create Your Copies
Once you have compiled all of your evidence to hand over to your local law enforcement agency, be sure to make a copy for yourself, this is because you will want to ensure that if something is lost or stolen, you still have the original information in your possession.
Report to Local Police
After you have created your files of evidence, you are ready to take the information to the local law enforcement agency for a report. Keep in mind that you will want to speak to a detective and not just the police officers at the front desk.
When you can speak to a detective, you must be calm and relaxed as you fill them in on only the facts. State what the problem is with any relevant information you need to include, such as the date the harassment began and what you have done in response.
What Happens After You Report Harassing Texts?
It is important to keep in mind that once a report has been filed about the harassing text messages, the detective in charge will decide the next steps. This can include them deciding whether or not there is enough evidence to pursue an investigation.
In most cases, the detective will take the time to review your information, which can take a bit of time since you are not likely their only report. You must be patient with the process but ensure that you are following up reasonably..
If the detective deems that there is not enough evidence in the case, they will contact you to return all of your evidence. They will explain the process and what else they may need should you file a report in the future.
When a detective sees that you are being harassed, they may send their recommendations to the prosecuting attorney. In this case, the state or city government will then press charges against the perpetrator and pursue further action.
What Can the Police Do About Harassing Texts?
Keep in mind that harassment of any kind is illegal and includes in person, over the phone, via text messages, through social media, or any other method. Some laws are in place about cyberbullying that are designed to protect the public from this happening.
The police can do several things to help you stop the harassing text messages that you may be receiving. Keep in mind that the first thing you will need to do is file a police report which includes presenting certain evidence to prove your case.
When you file a police report, the case is typically turned over to a detective who has the authority to investigate the incident for you. They will likely ask you quite a few questions about what happened when it started and more.
Keep in mind that they have certain guidelines and procedures that they must follow, however, they are there to protect you first and foremost. As you are making your report sure to be patient since they do have to look at both sides of the story to make an unbiased investigation.
Another thing to keep in mind after you have submitted your report is that you will need to ensure that you have told the police everything. This includes anything you have said to the harasser regarding their harassment.
If the police detective gets the impression that you are holding anything back, this can further slow down the investigation as a whole. As previously stated, when you are organizing your information for your report, make sure that you include everything, including any responses you may have said.
What Can You Do if the Investigation Fails to Stop the Harassment?
In some cases, unfortunately, there is not enough evidence for the law enforcement agency to file a formal complaint and have charges pressed against the perpetrator. No matter how much it is frustrating to you, there is not much that can be done in these situations.
Many law professionals recommend that if an investigation fails to stop the harassment that you are receiving, there may be other ways you can go about getting justice. Two of these ways include contacting the service provider or filing a complaint in civil court.
If you choose to contact the service provider, keep in mind that they may or may not be able to do anything about the harassment. This is because in most cases, they want you to have filed a police report or require a subpoena to have anything revealed.
Lastly, if you know the name of your harasser, you can take all of the evidence you have against them and hire an experienced civil court lawyer. They can then file a civil complaint against the individual which may then allow you to get the justice they deserve.
Reference Legal Explanations
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"What Can the Police Do About Harassing Texts?". Legal Explanations. Accessed on February 23, 2024. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-can-the-police-do-about-harassing-texts/.
"What Can the Police Do About Harassing Texts?". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-can-the-police-do-about-harassing-texts/. Accessed 23 February, 2024
What Can the Police Do About Harassing Texts?. Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/what-can-the-police-do-about-harassing-texts/.