Loyola University Chicago

Information Technology Services

Online Harassment

Because of the apparent anonymity provided by the Internet, people often behave in inappropriate ways. If you are being harassed online, the first thing to do is to tell the harasser to stop. If possible, save a copy of the harassing material, and your request that they stop. Do not communicate further with the person. If they do not stop, contact the Department of Campus Safety. Loyola is committed to maintaining an environment which respects the dignity of all individuals.

Illinois has laws covering cyberstalking and harassment through electronic communications.

Illinois cyberstalking law:
720 ICLS 5/12-7.5/Criminal Code of 1961 (Search for "Cyberstalking")
Sec. 12.7.5. Cyberstalking.
(a) A person commits cyberstalking when he or she, knowingly and without lawful justification, on at least 2 separate occasions, harasses another person through the use of electronic communication and:
(1) at any time transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint and the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person, or
(2) places that person or a family member of that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint.
(b) As used in this Section:
"Harass" means to engage in a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that alarms, torments, or terrorizes that person.
"Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writings, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electron-magnetic, photoelectric, or photo-optical system. "Electronic communication" includes transmissions by a computer through the Internet to another computer.

Illinois electronic harassment law:
720 ILCS 135/ Harassing and Obscene Communications Act
(720 ILCS 135/1.2)
Sec. 1.2. Harassment through electronic communications.
(a) Harassment through electronic communications is the use of electronic communication for any of the following purposes:
(1) Making any comment, request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene with an intent to offend;
(2) Interrupting, with the intent to harass, the telephone service or the electronic communication service of any person;
(3) Transmitting to any person, with the intent to harass and regardless of whether the communication is read in its entirety or at all, any file, document, or other communication which prevents that person from using his or her telephone service or electronic communications device;

Transmitting an electronic communication or knowingly inducing a person to transmit an electronic communication for the purpose of harassing another person who is under 13 years of age, regardless of whether the person under 13 years of age consents to the harassment, if the defendant is at least 16 years of age at the time of the commission of the offense;

(4) Threatening injury to the person or to the property of the person to whom an electronic communication is directed or to any of his or her family or household members; or
(5) Knowingly permitting any electronic communications device to be used for any of the purposes mentioned in this subsection (a).

(b) As used in this Act:
(1) "Electronic communication" means any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectric or photo-optical system.
(2) "Family or household member" includes spouses, former spouses, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage, persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling, persons who have or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child, persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship, and persons with disabilities and their personal assistants. For purposes of this Act, neither a casual acquaintanceship nor ordinary fraternization between 2 individuals in business or social contexts shall be deemed to constitute a dating relationship.

(720 ILCS 135/1.3)
Sec. 1.3. Evidence inference. Evidence that a defendant made additional telephone calls or engaged in additional electronic communications after having been requested by a named complainant or by a family or household member of the complainant to stop may be considered as evidence of an intent to harass unless disproved by evidence to the contrary.

History and Updates:


  • April 12, 2006: Initial Policy
  • June 23, 2015: Annual Review for PCI Compliance
  • April 26, 2016: Annual Review for PCI Compliance
  • April 19, 2017: Annual Review for PCI Compliance
  • Author: UISO
  • Version: 1.1