AA Practice Notes abuse adaptive growth approved contractor ARB Approved Contractor Arboricultural Association Arborist Arborists ash dieback Asian assessment Atypical Myopathy bad arborist bat conservation trust bats become an approved contractor benefit benefits Benefits of Trees beware Biosecurity bird nesting season birds bleeding blocked drain blog boundary bracing branches british bats BS5837 building callus careers cavity certification CHIP clear Climbing code of ethics code of practice colleges common law communication complain complaints conservation conservation areas construction consultant Contractor conversion Convictions coppicing Coronavirus CoSHH council council land court COVID-19 crown crown lifting crown raising crown reduction crown thinning danger of felling dangerous dangers deadwood defamation definitions diagnostic service dieback directive directory discrimination disease dispute Distance driveway duty of care ear defenders ecologist education ethics european habitats directive felling licences Finance fines forum fruit trees fungus glossary good arborist good climbing practice ground nesting birds guidance Guides habitat hammering harassment harmful hazardous substances health health & safety health and safety heavy clay hedge height helliwell help and advice help for arborists HMRC hollow tree Hornet horses HSE initials injury Insects intrusive i-Tree ivy land registry legal requirements legislation lifting equipment light light loss local councils local planning authority LOLER lopping loss maternity minimum recommended distance mobile phone monetary value music nail neighbour nesting nesting birds directive noise at work Oak Processionary Moth OPM penalty permission personal protective equipment pests Pests and Diseases phone usage phones up trees planning consent planning system point value policies post nominals PPE problem tree professional conduct property protection proximity pruning qualifications radio reasonable care registered consultant regulations restrictive covenants risk assessment risk to health road management roost roots Rope Royal Veterinary College safe safety schedule 5 schedule 6 Security site clearance sites of special scientific interest smothering Specialists study subsidence sycamore Talking Trees TDAG Technical Technique terminology The British Horse Society time of year tool box talk topping tpo traffic management training Tree Tree Advice Trust Tree Aftercare tree assessment tree consultant Tree Establishment Tree Health tree management tree officer tree ownership Tree Planting tree preservation order tree roots Tree Species Selection Tree Specifiers tree surgeon tree valuation Tree Watering trees trees causing cracks trolling Two Rope unsafe Urban Urban Trees verbal abuse VETcert vibration levels victimisation videos Water Management Watering wildlife wildlife and countryside act Women In Arboriculture working at height working equipment


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Verbal abuse, Trolling on Social Media and Defamation: Legal Pointers

 25/03/2019    Last Modified: 25/03/2019

If anyone posts or says something that makes you feel uncomfortable or which upsets you or makes you angry, report it:

  • Every social media platform (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc.) has a reporting section that you should use for any abuse received online. There are various charities and helplines available to support you if you experience this, for example: Halt Abuse and Women's Aid.
  • If you feel that there is an immediate physical threat to yours or another's safety than you can and should inform the Police.
  • You can also pursue legal action and sue any party involved. For example the journalist, the individual or a newspaper. Even anonymous posters can be tracked down and the individuals located but this can expensive.

1. Harassment

  • Harassment is simply when someone behaves in a way which makes you feel distressed, humiliated or threated.
  • NB: You must have experienced at least two incidents by the same person or group of people
    • Claims can be brought under the Protection from Harassment Act 1996 or the Public Order Act 1994 as this is both a criminal and civil offence.
    • More information and useful guidance if you want to take legal action can be found on the Citizens Advice website.

2. Defamation

  • If you can prove that a 'defamatory statement' has been made, you can bring a claim under the Defamation Act 2013.

"A defamatory statement is a statement that is published to a third party, that lowers the subject in the estimation of right-thinking members of society and which causes or is likely to cause serious harm to the subject's reputation"

  • The statement can be written (libel) which includes images, or spoken (slander), but it must be untrue.
  • Publishing to a third party includes publishing the statement via twitter, Facebook, newspapers or even shouting comments at a match.
  • You do not have to be named directly as the subject, anything that distinguishes you is sufficient.
  • Serious harm is an intentionally high threshold but it can be satisfied provided you can show your feelings have been hurt and you have suffered as a result of the defamatory statement.
  • Your claim must be brought within one year of the incident. This is notoriously a very expensive process and you should have legal representation if you want to bring a claim.
  • Legal aid is not normally available for defamation claims but some law firms may offer a 'no win no fee' agreement. You can contact a firm specialising in defamation via the Law Society website.
Women In Arboriculture, abuse, defamation, trolling, verbal abuse