How does California law define harassment?


Quick Answer

The Judicial Branch of California states that civil harassment is defined as any act of violence, sexual assault, stalking or the threats of such acts from an individual with no romantic involvement. If the same behavior is perpetuated by a current or former romantic partner, the crime is known as domestic violence in the state of California.

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Full Answer

The California Court system further explains that harassment always involves either unlawful violence or a credible threat of such violence. A credible threat is defined as actions or words that give the victim sufficient reason to believe the harasser will eventually commit such acts. The behavior must also be considered unwarranted in the court's eyes.

The Superior Court of California clarifies the matter a bit more by explaining that neighbors, roommates and strangers are typical perpetrators of assault. Anyone who has a case for harassment in the state of California is eligible to file for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order from the Superior Court. Such an order is intended to serve as a court-ordered protection against the alleged harasser, rendering it illegal for him to maintain any contact with the victim. In California, the Superior Court also prohibits the harasser from coming into contact with the victim's family, residence or place of work.

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