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Legal Definition of Harassment 

720 ILCS 5/26.5.  Harassing and Obscene Communications.

"Harass" or "harassing" means knowing conduct which is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances, that would cause a reasonable person emotional distress and does cause emotional distress to another. (Source: P.A. 97-1108, effective 1/1/2013).

Illinois statutes defining acts of harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • 720 ILCS 5/26.5-1. Transmission of obscene messages
  • 720 ILCS 5/26.5-2. Harassment by telephone
  • 720 ILCS 5/26.5-3. Harassment through electronic communications

There are other forms of harassment including:

  • 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3. Stalking
  • 720 ILCS 5/12-7.5. Cyberstalking

Telephone/Texting Harassment Tips

Prevention is the key to not receiving unwanted phone calls or text messages. There are several steps you can take to prevent calls from beginning. Here are a few suggestions that will prevent you from becoming a victim of telephone harassment:

  • Do not give out your phone number to anyone but your friends. When you meet someone new do not give out your phone number until you know who they are and where they live.
  • Do not advertise your number by placing it in online social communities such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Do not post your number on ad sites such as Craigslist or Ebay. Instead use email or confidential phone services such as
  • Do not post you number on bulletin boards, or note boards outside your room/apartment.
  • Do not announce your name on your voicemail or answering machine.
  • Consider having your phone number unlisted, or use your first initial and last name.
  • Register your phone numbers on the Federal Do Not Call List (

If you receive an unwanted call, politely tell the caller you are not interested and hang up. Many obscene calls begin with a seemingly innocent salesman or persons taking surveys. Never buy anything over the phone from anyone who has called you. Do not listen to sales pitches of solicitations unless you are expecting the call. If the calls continue follow the steps below:

  • Don't talk. Remember, these types of callers often want an audience.
  • Hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Do not slam the receiver down, thereby admitting to the caller that you are annoyed.
  • Contact University Police anytime you are threatened or receive harassing or obscene phone calls. Save harassing messages on your voicemail or answering machine for the police to review.
  • Keep a log if the calls or text messages persist. Recorded log information could provide valuable clues to the identity of the caller.

A call log should include the following: date, time, duration, caller ID phone number if given, the conversation or text of the message left by the caller, and any other relevant information. Download a free version of the Harassing Telephone Calls/Text Messages Log Sheet.

Cyber Prevention Tips

  • Tell the person harassing you in straight forward terms, "Leave me alone, stop harassing me. Do not contact me again."
  • Do not reply to anything else the harasser says. No replies to emails, taunts or lies said about you.
  • Log all chats and IMs and save a copy as evidence. Save all e-mails and text messages as well as voicemails or voice messages. Take screen shots as well. Print all evidence, but keep the files on your hard drive.
  • In the case of email harassment you need to contact the harasser's ISP (Internet Service Provider) and make a complaint. If an offending website has been posted about you, contact the web hosting service. If there are posts on a forum or bulletin board, contact the moderators. All phone interactions should be reported to the phone company.
  • If the harassment is coming from other students at the school, contact the school's administration to see what action they would be willing to take.
  • Keep in mind that some types of bullying (threats) may be illegal. Report it to local law enforcement along with copies of the materials that you have collected
2018-08-24T10:04:30.716-05:00 2018