Harassment is aggressive pressure or intimidation that is often repetitive and it is meant to offend or cause discomfort.
Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual advances, often happening at work, at school, or on the street where refusing can be a great disadvantage to the victim.
Unwelcome words, actions, gestures, or behaviors can cause you to feel victimized, humiliated, harassed, embarrassed, or even tormented. As with other forms of sexual assault, your stress and anxiety from being harassed can worsen over time.
Where does harassment happen?
- Harassment can happen anywhere and at any time
- In-person unwanted gestures and words
- On your phone or online, unwanted texts, sexting, photos, videos, or voicemail
How do I manage or stop harassment from happening to me?
- Don’t answer or respond to their advances, calls, or texts.
- Keep records of when the harassment happens so that you have information in the future if you decide to go the police.
- Don’t use social media to let others know where you are, so you can’t be tracked. Don’t check in on FourSquare, Tweet, or share on Facebook your whereabouts.
What is a Harassment Restraining Order? (Per MN Courts Gov)
A Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) is an order signed by a judicial officer (judge or referee) that orders someone to stop harassing you and have no contact, unless allowed in the court order. It is not a criminal proceeding and takes place in civil court.
Who May Apply for an HRO?
The person applying for the HRO is called the petitioner. The person you are seeking protection from is called the respondent. The Petitioner does not have to have had a personal relationship with the Respondent. An adult can ask the court (petition) for an order for themselves or on behalf of their minor children if there have been incidents of harassment against their children. An adult can ask the court (petition) for an order on behalf of another adult if there is a court order granting legal guardianship.
The Respondent could be any adult or juvenile alleged to have engaged in harassment, OR an organization alleged to have sponsored or promoted harassment. You may only file against one Respondent. If you are being harassed by more than one person, you must file a separate petition for each Respondent.
Where May the Petitioner Apply for an HRO?
You can start a Harassment case in the District Court of the county where:
- you or the Respondent lives,
- OR the harassment occurred
Please see the legal definition below to see if harassment has happened in your situation.
Is there a Fee to Apply for or to Serve the HRO?
There is a filing fee to start a harassment case, but the fee may be waived under the law depending on the facts of your case. If the court determines your petition includes acts described in Minn. Stat. § 609.749, subd. 2, 3, 4, or 5 (specific acts related to harassment crimes), or Minn. Stat. §§ 609.342 to 609.3451 (specific acts related to sexual assault or contact), fees will be waived.
If you have a low income, you may ask that filing fees be waived by filing an “IFP form” with the court. You can get this form from court administration or online. There is no cost to the petitioner for serving the respondent.
Regardless of the relationship between the parties:
(a) “Harassment” includes:
(1) a single incident of physical or sexual assault, a single incident of stalking/harassment under § 609.749, subdivision 2, clause (8), a single incident of nonconsensual dissemination of private sexual images under § 617.261, or repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between the actor and the intended target;
(2) targeted residential picketing; and
(3) a pattern of attending public events after being notified that the actor’s presence at the event is harassing to another.
(b) “Respondent” includes any adults or juveniles alleged to have engaged in harassment or organizations alleged to have sponsored or promoted harassment.
(c) “Targeted residential picketing” includes the following acts when committed on more than one occasion:
(1) marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons directed solely at a particular residential building in a manner that adversely affects the safety, security, or privacy of an occupant of the building; or
(2) marching, standing, or patrolling by one or more persons which prevents an occupant of a residential building from gaining access to or exiting from the property on which the residential building is located.
To get a temporary restraining order, the Petition must also describe an immediate and present danger of harassment. Because the purpose of the HRO is to protect a person from future harassment, the Petition must include how the petitioner believes that the harassment will continue.
Harassing actions may also be crimes that can be reported to the police.
(All HRO Information above directly cited from MN Courts Gov)
What is the difference between an Order For Protection (OFP) and an HRO?
Per Law Help MN:
“For an OFP, the abuser must be family, you must have lived with them, or you must have a child together or a significant romantic relationship. For an HRO, the relationship between you and the harasser does not matter. If you have the kind of relationship you need to get an OFP, you should apply for an OFP.
Some behaviors do not meet the legal definition of domestic abuse but do meet the definition of harassment. For example, your ex-boyfriend calls you over and over saying he is going to take custody of your child. If it annoys you that his calls don’t stop, it is harassment. If his calls make you afraid of being harmed, it is domestic abuse.”
- See MN Courts Gov – Comparison and Contrast of Orders Prohibiting Contact in Domestic Violence Situations (Page A-1)
- See more information on Orders for Protection
Talk to Someone Who is There to Listen and Support You
Advocates from the Day One network can help you develop a safety plan, provide support, and explore options including HROs. Call the Minnesota Day One Crisis Line 1-866-223-1111 to speak with an advocate (interpreters are available), text 612-399-9995, or click the CHAT NOW button on this site to connect with a Day One advocate. A Day One advocate is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.