Hi everyone and welcome to Bristol Grandparents Support Group blog. Although we are Bristol based we have grandparents from all over the UK and beyond as members.

It is estimated that over one million children in the UK are denied contact with their grandparents due to family breakdown which may have been caused by divorce/separation, alcohol/drug dependency,domestic violence,bereavement or family feud.
Every child has the right to have contact with their grandparents
if they wish and unless proven unsafe for them to do so. To deny contact from a parent or grandparent has to become as socially unacceptable as drink driving.
I hope to keep you up to date with what is going on in BGSG and I shall continue to campaign for the rights of children to have a loving and meaningful relationship with both parents and their extended family. So please join in as good to hear your views, not just mine!
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There is no membership fee to be part of Bristol Grandparents Support Group.
Esther Rantzen says, " To every grandparent, links of love can never be broken in our hearts."

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Sunday 27 November 2011

Why is writing a letter harassment?

Time and time again grandparents find themselves issued with an harassment order because they have written a letter.
I have tried to get the term 'harassment order' clarified and it seems it is a grey area. One source says..................

If you mean a harassment warning from the police, someone makes an allegation, the police come round and give you a bit of paper which warns you that the behaviour is considered harassment and not to do it again. They do it because harassment requires a course of conduct, so if you do it again after you've been warned it's a course of conduct.
Of course, them warning you about it doesn't necessarily make whatever it is you've apparently done illegal, or even mean it actually happened. It's not a criminal record and it doesn't mean the police have investigated it and believe you've done anything, it just means they've given you a warning not to do something you might never have done anyway.
Although it has no status as a criminal record, it's still an 'official' warning from the police (official in that it's on headed police paper and given out and recorded by the police) not to do something, and obviously it's not right for them to go around officially warning you not to do something you've not done."

So what is a course of conduct?
"Harassment Act 1997 Section 2 - "You commit an offence if you pursue a course of conduct which causes another person harassment, alarm or distress and knew, or ought to have known, that harassment would be caused" (or words to this effect). There is a defence available of "reasonable conduct" (or else banks wouldn't be able to keep sending you upsetting letters when you owe them money!)

This law was drawn up specifically for stalkers but can apply to so much more (nuisance phonecalls, text messages, ongoing threats between neighbours etc)

The important part, is "course of conduct". This means that there must be at least two seperate instances where harassment was caused and the offender knew (or ought to have known) that their behaviour was causing harassment."
As you can see, clear as mud!
Which still doesn't really answer the question, why if you write a letter is it harassment?

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