Harassment is very unpleasant and, when a person is subject to a campaign of abuse, it can prove extremely upsetting. Furthermore, it is often quite possible for the abuser to preserve their anonymity.
In such circumstances, it might seem that there is little that can be done, but that is not so, as a recent case shows. A woman sex worker received a series of increasingly abusive phone calls and messages from an anonymous person, and a number of websites were established which also contained abusive and defamatory content about her. Her abuser also visited her, claiming to be a police officer and demanding that she delete all messages she had received from him.
Whilst his identity was never established, the woman sought an injunction which would at least have the effect of preventing the continued operation of websites which abused her.
The court agreed that the misuse of private information about the woman, some of which was false, constituted harassment. The fact that the defendant could not be found and thus could not oppose the application could not stop an injunction from being issued.
The court also barred further contact with the woman by her abuser (thus leaving him liable to be imprisoned for contempt of court if he failed to leave her alone) and required the woman to continue to make reasonable efforts to identify him.