Telephone Harassment

THREATENING PHONE CALLS

A threatening phone call is one in which the caller makes statements that suggest or imply that he or she will physically harm you or someone else. The timing for the threat to be carried out can be stated or left vague. Although harassing calls may also be threatening calls, the implication of physical harm increases the seriousness.

IF YOU RECEIVE A CALL THAT YOU FEEL IS THREATENING AND THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF IMMINENT DANGER, TERMINATE THE CALL IMMEDIATELY AND CALL PUBLIC SAFETY AT 911. BE PREPARED TO GIVE THE DISPATCHER AS MUCH DETAIL ABOUT THE CALL AS YOU CAN REMEMBER.

TYPES OF TELEPHONE HARASSMENT

Nuisance Phone Calls

This applies to any unwanted phone calls by the same individual after he or she has been informed that you do not want any further calls.

Obscene Phone Calls

These calls can be very frustrating and a frightening form of sexual harassment, in large part because the caller is both anonymous and difficult to confront.

Hang-Up Phone Calls

Your phone rings, but the caller does not respond and immediately hangs up the phone. Hang-up calls are sometimes connected with other types of harassing calls.

Discriminatory Intimidation Phone Calls. Sometimes telephone harassers use the phone as a way of delivering derogatory epithets or remarks directed at an individual's race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

DEALING WITH HARASSING PHONE CALLS

Harassing phone calls are a serious invasion of your privacy. The effect varies from person to person, but you should always know that staff support is available. Here are several suggested strategies to consider when you are harassed.

1. Hang up. you can end the call.
2. Don't engage the person in conversation. Attempts to respond or reason with the caller may encourage more calls.
3. Remain calm and show little emotion. if you want to talk to someone about how these calls make you feel, residence hall and
other campus staff are available. See bottom of page for a list of sources.
4. Remind the caller it's illegal and you will call the police.
5. Note the date and time of call. See 'Keeping a Telephone Log'.
6. Record the message, if you have an answering machine. The tape may be utilized by the Department of Public Safety to help
identify the caller. You may alternatively choose to disconnect your machine for a while so no harassing messages are left.
7. At the point you are certain it is a harassing phone call, blow a whistle loudly into the phone. If you are going to use this method, we strongly recommend you warn your roommates and/or neighbors (in advance) so they won't be alarmed.

KEEPING A TELEPHONE LOG

When you feel that there is a pattern to the calls you are receiving or that you mat want to request a telephone trap, you (and your roommates or family members) will be asked to keep a log of any undesired phone calls. A log sheet will be provided which indicates that you should fill in the following information:

1. Date call received.
2. Time call received.
3. On-campus or off campus call. your phone will ring once if it is an on-campus call. Record "on" the log sheet for an
on-campus call, and "off" for an off campus call.
4. Type of call. Describe the nature of the call as you can: was the caller male or female; accents; content of the call;
background noises; do you think you know who the caller was?

PROCEDURES FOR PUTTING ON A TELEPHONE TRAP

A telephone trap is a technical function that can be performed by the telephone company. It involves keeping a specific telephone line open in order to obtain the telephone number of the caller. A telephone trap is different from a tap (what's used on all the television shows), which requires a court order and is rarely a viable option in residence situations.

Any effort to identify callers from would involve the Annoyance Call Bureau. A telephone trap can only be put on a phone with the prior permission of all the residents of the residence hall or room.

A Public Safety Officer will meet with you and discuss exactly what is entailed with a trap. You (and your roommates/spouse where applicable) will be asked to sign a permission form authorizing the trap.

LEGAL STATUS OF TELEPHONE HARASSMENT MAY VARY DEPENDING ON YOUR STATE OR PROVINCE

A person commits the crime of harassment if:

1. for the purpose of frightening or disturbing another person

2. she/he does any of the following:

a. calls the victim on the phone or sends a written message in which she/he threatens to commit a felony; or

b. calls the victim on the phone or sends a written message in which she/he uses coarse language that would be offensive
to the average person; or

c. makes an anonymous phone call to the victim; or

d. makes repeated phone calls.