SINGAPORE - The Protection from Harassment Act 2014, introduced to better protect people from harassment and related anti-social behaviour, is now in force, said the Ministry of Law in a statement released today.
The Act was passed by the Parliament on March 13, 2014, and comprises a range of civil remedies and criminal responses available to victims of harassment.
The Ministry of Law said that victims of harassment may apply directly to the Court for a Protection Order, which will direct the harasser to stop the harassing behaviour.
Victims can also seek the Protection Order to put a stop to the spread of harassing communication by others.
The Court may grant a temporary Expedited Protection Order on the spot in urgent cases.
If the Protection Orders or Expedited Protection Orders are breached, the action may amount to a criminal offence.
Besides applying for a Protection Order, a victim of harassment may also sue for the perpetrator for monetary damages.
Meanwhile, a victim of false statements of facts alleged against him can seek recourse by proving in Court that the statements are false. The Court will then direct the publication of a notification that will alert readers of the false statements.
Under the Act, behaviour such as stalking, which causes victims feelings of harassment, alarm or distress, is considered an offence. Harassment committed in the physical world or cyberspace is also considered an offence.
In addition, the Act will apply to offences committed outside Singapore as long as certain conditions are satisfied. For example, where an offender who is overseas stalks a victim who is in Singapore, and the offender knew or ought to have known that the victim would be in Singapore when doing so, he may be found guilty of the offence of stalking.
If convicted of harassment, offenders face fines not exceeding $5,000, a jail term of up to 12 months or both, while repeat offenders face a maximum fine of $10,000, imprisonment for up to two years, or both.