Phone Harassment

Verified 03 December 2020 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Repeated malicious phone calls or text messages amount to harassment. This is an offense punishable by law. If you experience telephone harassment, you can report it to the police or gendarmerie. You can also file a complaint against the author. Evidence of harassment must be collected.

Repeated and malicious phone calls are considered harassment. These are phone calls made for the sole purpose of harming you, or disturbing your tranquility.

2 insulting or threatening calls within a short period of time are considered to be repeated calls and may therefore constitute telephone harassment.

The facts are also punished, even if there was no telephone communication, in the following 2 cases:

  • The perpetrator leaves malicious messages on your voice mail or on the victim's voice mail
  • The author rings your phone without talking to you for the sole purpose of causing you sound disturbances

Repeated sending of malicious SMS or e-mail messages is tantamount to telephone harassment.


the abusive telephone solicitation by traders does not amount to telephone harassment.

If your situation requires urgent law enforcement intervention, you can alert the police or gendarmerie by phone.

In case of emergency, and only in this situation, it is possible to alert the police or gendarmerie by telephone call, or by SMS, if you are unable to speak.

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By telephone

In case of emergency, when a quick intervention is necessary, you can call the emergency police. Dial 17.

You can also contact the 112.

Who shall I contact
Who shall I contact

You can't call

114 is the emergency call relay service if you are unable to speak on the phone (deaf, hard of hearing ...) or if it could put you in danger.

Who shall I contact

You can collect evidence of your harassment yourself without waiting for the police or gendarmerie investigation.

Any form of proof shall be permitted:

  • Recorded calls even without the author's knowledge
  • Recordings of messages left on your voicemail
  • SMS screenshots...

It is also worth noting the exact dates and times of the calls. You will be able to provide all this information to the police when you file a complaint.

You can call on a commissioner of justice (former bailiff and judicial auctioneer).

You can file a complaint against the alleged perpetrator of the telephone harassment, to be punished by the justice system.

You must do so within 6 years from the last malicious call, otherwise the complaint will not be processed.

If you file a complaint within this period, the court will then take into account all the appeals concerned, even if they are more than 6 years old.


if the harassment is motivated by discrimination based on one of the criteria prohibited by the law, such as skin color, sex, age or sexual orientation, you can refer the case to the French Ombudsman.

On the spot

You must go to a police station or a gendarme brigade of your choice.

Who shall I contact

You may not be refused the receipt of the complaint.

The complaint is then forwarded to the public prosecutor by the police or gendarmerie.

By mail

You can file a complaint with the public prosecutor.

We need to send a free-form letter the court of law of the place of the offense or of the domicile of the offender.

Who shall I contact

The letter should specify the following:

  • Your marital status and full contact information (address and telephone number)
  • Detailed account of the facts, date and place of the offense
  • Name of the alleged perpetrator if known (otherwise, the complaint will be filed against X)
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses to the offense
  • Description and provisional or definitive estimate of the damage
  • Evidence: medical certificates, work stoppages, miscellaneous invoices, findings ...
  • Willingness to take civil action

File a complaint with the public prosecutor

Who shall I contact

You can send your complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, by simple letter or by letter followed.

You can also file your complaint directly at the courthouse.

In any case, a receipt is given to you as soon as the Public Prosecutor's Office has registered your complaint.

The person who is guilty of telephone harassment is at risk

  • 1 year in prison
  • and €15,000 of fine.

The perpetrator may also be sentenced to an obligation of care in the context of a stay of probation.

When the person responsible for telephone harassment is the spouse, partner or Civil partnership partner, they are at risk

  • 3 years in prison
  • and €45,000 of fine.

The perpetrator may also be sentenced to an obligation of care in the context of a stay of probation.

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