Harassing Communications

Download the Harassing Calls Log Sheet (pdf).

Harassing communications

Annoying or harassing phone calls, electronic messages, text messages and other forms of electronic communication are a common problem on college campuses. The State of Illinois law prohibits harassing, threatening or obscene phone calls and electronic messages in many forms under the Harassing and Obscene Communications Act, Chapter 720 Act:135.

Harassing telephone calls

Should you be the recipient of any of these types of calls, here are some suggestions that you can use to deter callers from calling back and to decrease your potential for victimization.

In the event you receive a call from someone unknown to you, don't talk. A person making these types of calls is looking for an audience. Don't be that audience! Hang up as soon as you realize the nature of the call. Don't slam the receiver down. It gives the caller the reaction he/she is looking for. Hang up quietly! Note the last number listed on your phone if possible. Cell phones automatically keep a log of calls. Record log information and description of call or message to provide to the appropriate personnel. Whenever you feel threatened, harassed or annoyed by a caller, contact the Northwestern University Police Department at 847-491-3254. Save harassing messages on your voicemail for University Police.

While the vast majority of annoying or harassing phone calls are simple pranks, where the caller often knows the victim, threats of violence must be taken seriously. If you receive a call in which there are threats of physical harm or violence, immediately report the call to University Police or your local police agency if you are at home or away from the campus. Log what time the call was made, what was said and the characteristics of the call / caller. By reporting the call, you have begun the process to stop these calls.

University Police will assign an officer to investigate annoying or harassing calls and recommend a course of action. To aid in the investigation you may be asked to keep a log sheet to record the occurrences and related call information.

Harassing electronic communications

Harassment through electronic communications may take place through one or more mediums.  No matter the methodology, if you receive one or more harassing, threatening or obscene messages through electronic mail, text messaging or any other means, you should contact the Northwestern University Police Department at 847-491-3254 if you receive the communication while on campus.  When off campus, such incidents can be reported to your local police agency. If you receive any electronic communication that contains a threat of physical harm of violence to you or any other person, immediately report the call to University Police or your local police agency if you are at home or away from the campus. Do not delete harassing or threatening messages.  Such messages may be used to identify and prosecute criminal offenders.