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Hatfield anti-harassment legislation heads to governor’s desk

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Legislation authored by Representative Ryan Hatfield (D-Evansville) that will expand protections for Hoosiers experiencing harassment and bullying is headed to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk to be signed into law.

House Bill 1607 allows Hoosiers victimized by harassment and bullying to get a protection order against a person who repeatedly harasses and bullies them.  

“Too many families are impacted by young people being bullied,” Hatfield said. “Teen depression and suicides are up because of the constant and continuous contact bullies have to their victims. Social media platforms and technological advances have given bullies a worldwide stage to harass and bully their victims. This is one more tool to keep Hoosiers protected and to try to curb teen suicides.”

Under current law, in order to register for an order of protection, a person must be a victim of domestic or family violence, stalking, or a sex offense. House Bill 1607 will add harassment to that list. The bill will also expand the definition of stalking from the act of following or pursuing a victim to include communication with the victim in person, writing, by telephone, telegraph, or other electronic means and posting content on social media that is directed to the victim or refers to the victim directly or indirectly. House Bill 1607 also allows parents to seek a protective order for their child.

“Harassment and bullying can occur across various platforms now with the use of technology,” Hatfield said. “As technology continues to advance, it is critical that our legislation follows suit. This bill allows for the practical protection against harassment and bullying in the technology age and gives Hoosiers the tools they need to put an end to the continuous emotional distress they experience.”

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