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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 74321
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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We believe our daughter is the victim of a campaign of

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We believe our daughter is the victim of a campaign of online abuse & slander, which has continued on and off for nearly a year. It has escalated in the past week when the perpetrators have contacted everyone on our daughters work based & social media links demanding that they stop following her and working with her. The main platform of this campaign is instagram but some of these contacts have been contacted via home or workplace email. We would like to know if there is something that can be done. Kind regards, ***** *****
JA: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Our daughter lives in London
JA: What steps have been taken so far?
Customer: At the beginning our daughter asked the perpetrator to desist but that escalated the situation. Since then ... not engaging... gathering evidence with screen grabs & saving emails... earlier in the year, sought & followed advice from Equity
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: We have consulted police websites & online advice

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

How does she know this person? and what is she ideally hoping to do in the circumstances?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Used to be a friend from college & worked as freelancers together on various projects. Our daughter would like the harassment to stop as it is damaging her reputation, effecting her work & causing her distress

Thank you. Leave it with me for now, although please note it is extremely busy at present due to the ongoing situation so there may be a delay in replying, but I will get back to you at some point today. Please do not reply in the meantime. Many thanks

Many thanks for your patience. This conduct could potentially amount to harassment, which can be either a civil or a criminal offence. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 states that a person must not pursue a course of conduct, which amounts to harassment of another and which he or she knows or ought to know amounts to harassment. Although there is no definition of what harassment is, it would usually include alarming a person or causing them distress and must have occurred on at least two occasions.

How this matter is dealt with would depend on whether the victim wants to take it down the civil route or the criminal one, or even both.

If a civil claim is made in the courts, it must be initiated within 6 years of the alleged act(s) of harassment taking place. The court can make an order instructing the harasser to stop their behaviour. If they still do not stop harassing the victim it would become a criminal offence and they can be prosecuted in the criminal courts. It is also possible to seek financial compensation if financial or emotional losses have been suffered (e.g. causing severe anxiety or distress).

If the matter is reported to the police instead and they take it further and prosecute, the punishment for harassment can be imprisonment and/or a fine. A court may also impose a restraining order for the purpose of protecting the victim.

Before the courts or the police get involved it may be better to try and resolve this directly with the harasser. They should be warned that their actions are being treated as harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and that unless they stop what they are doing they will be reported to the police and legal action under harassment legislation taken against them. If that does not help, the matter can be taken further either by contacting the police and letting them deal with it as they see fit, or starting civil court action by making a claim for harassment.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** very helpful and I hope it will give our daughter the confidence to proceed.

All the best

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Our daughter is considering posting the following as she feels she needs to address the public damage which this campaign of harassment is causing her; we would be grateful to hear your views on this.... Valerie, first of all I want to say that as a white woman I will never fully understand the racism you endure and I am committed to bettering myself. This is definitely a time for white people to reflect and take action on the ways we have benefited from systemic racism. I will continue to do that with my work and the things I engage with. I/ Womxn SRSLY condemn and take very seriously the accusations of white supremacy, and absolutely denounce this. The collective that we were all a part of was built on intersectionality and was devoted to supporting everyone who has been disadvantaged due to the performing arts sectors bias towards white cis-male work. This is why we had a selection panel with clear deadlines to navigate the platform around our work schedules. You also know that after not contacting me at all over that selection period despite our numerous messages. I extended the deadline. Then, after the fact, you sent Treacle your choices (having said yourself in your email that you had not read all the applications). You then messaged me and I told you where we were at and you said you were too ill to carry on. I have all of these messages.I have tried to speak to you about this several times. I met with you and I listened and I asked you what you would have liked me to do differently in that situation and you said you didn’t know. I apologised to you for not being able to give this more time but as you are also aware the reason that I was unable to give this more time was that I was running a two day event two days later supporting your work and from our conversation it seemed to me that you wanted to focus on getting better for the event. Additionally, when it comes to Sakeema and Chloe, after not submitting full applications, I sent them both an email asking them to complete them. After not receiving a response from Sakeema I sent her a private message prompting her and I shortlisted her application to give her more time to respond. I then received an email from Sakeema saying she could no longer take part in the platform due to work commitments. I don’t believe that questioning you when you say that ‘my access need as a black person is to shout’ is racist. On the contrary, I believe that it is anti-racist and anti-ablist. I don’t believe that asking you not to shout at me when you are screaming in my face and treating to hit me is racist. I have tried to speak to you about the way that you treat other people, colleagues and friends. I have helped you with emails, articles and supported you in every way I can. I don’t believe trying to talk to you about this makes me racist. Again, I have all of these correspondents, but I will not be publishing these ones, as I am not out to harm your career. I am open to listening to why you feel these points make me racist and am willing to learn.As for WS8 not having any black people ‘at it’. There were black people involved on the day but you are correct there were no black artists performing. However, every single artist performing at that platform was a person with protected characteristics. As you know, however, this is not how we select the work as that would be tokenism. This is the point that I really just cannot condone and I think that your treatment of Flo for asking you to take an image of her down where you say she is not a POC says more than I can in this situation. Your treatment of other minority groups and, in fact, other black people during this whole period has been appalling. Saying someone’s skin is lighter than yours so it’s harder for you is racist. Saying that Chinese people’s oppression is somehow less than yours is racist (and there are Chinese people being killed in the streets). My biggest personal grievance is obviously your attack on my partner Chris. I have asked him to not involve himself in this situation throughout the whole process but you saying that he is not black enough to understand my racism because he has a white mum is so incredible wrong I cannot find the words and has prompted him to try and reach out to you. To which you replied I’m not reading this. I know that Holly and Claudia were involved in this conversation too. I don’t think it is right for any of you to qualify whether or not someone has a voice or not or make assumptions about their experience. Additionally, getting your mate to message him saying to leave me as well as emailing my black cousins and other family members is wrong and I feel saddened that you would use the current situation as a platform for this hatred. - a bit more at the end
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do believe you Valerie. I believe your anger and I believe your hurt I just think that you are directing it at the wrong people. I know I don’t always do everything perfectly. I know that I benefit from structural racism. I will continue to do this work and I will continue to learn and get better.

Where will this be posted?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On her instagram stories because that is where Valerie is putting out all her posts

Ok it is fine as long as she is confident that it is factually correct and truthful…

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Our daughter posted a revised and shorter version of her statement and had lots of messages of support and lots of inevitable backlash messages too. She & her partner have decided to report this to the police now. They are going to give statements to the police today. Kind regards.

Thank you for the update

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your advice, I think it helped them to move forwards with this

You are most welcome

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