Criminal Harassment is any form of harassment explicitly prohibited by criminal law. These laws typically target unwanted behavior that is aggressive and/or sexual in nature, but not physically violating.
Some types of Criminal Harassment are:
Stalking is the willful and repeated following of an individual from place to place. Predatory stalking, which entails following targets for later acts (such as rape), is the most dangerous form of stalking and carries the harshest penalties under criminal harassment laws. Stalking is illegal in all 50 states at both a state and federal level. Offenders are subject to criminal prosecution and the victim can seek an Order of Permanent Restraint against the stalker.
Verbal Harassment is any repeated, unwanted contact with a victim. Verbal harassment may be violent or aggressive in nature, but the victim only needs to be genuinely afraid for her well-being for it to satisfy the criteria for criminal harassment. First-time offenders rarely receive jail time, and courts will often issue protection orders to impede the harassment instead.
Sexual Harassment includes unwanted sexual advances made towards the victim. Sexual harassment can occur anywhere–in public, at home, in school or at work–and the offender may be a stranger, a colleague, a friend or even a relative. Sexual harassment is illegal at both a federal and state levels, and criminal harassment laws divide this type of harassment into categories depending on the severity of the behavior. Sexual harassment that escalates into physical contact, such as rape, carries the highest weight and the harshest penalties.