Anti-stalking laws are relatively new. Some go as far back as the 1990s but in many states the anti-stalking statutes are 10 to 15 years old. Some states like Virginia, only acquired an anti-stalking law in 2016.
The manipulative nature of stalking results in the problematic nature of acquiring evidence, it often takes longer to build the necessary information base to bring the a stalking issue to the courts. Basically sneaky, abusive criminals are not necessarily give you a road map to demonstrate how they are doing what they are doing.
Once that happens, if that is able to happen, you go through the legal process of presenting and hopefully securing a verdict in your favor to address both your stalker and your stalking issue.
Of course as more people speak out, more cases come to the courts, more evidence of how stalking even happens, the more people learn about this and can respond accordingly. For people that have the lovely privilege of living through this, life and survival will mean different things.
Civil Anti-Stalking Laws
As of November 2017, only 13 states have some form of civil anti-stalking laws on the books. Civil anti-stalking laws are intended for a victim of stalking who has suffered property damages, loss of income, financial damages as a result of stalking.
Like most cases you will have to prove that the damages are a direct result of stalking. In many cases having a TRO (temporary restraining order) or a protective order already in place will be helpful is establishing your case. If that protective order has been violated and the financial damages can be proved to be a direct result, that may make it easier to prove your case. Yes, I know it’s morbid but the law can address issues only after the fact, that is after an incident has happened.
States with Civil Stalking Laws on the Books
No, that is not very many states for civil statutes. Given the majority of criminal statutes are 10 to 15 years old it is not that much of a surprise to only see civil stalking statutes available in only 13 states.
Criminal Anti-Stalking Laws
All states have some form of criminal anti-stalking laws.
Anti Stalking Laws: Which States Have Them
All states have some form of criminal stalking laws. Some of them are even remarkably specific and explicit in their definitions and framing while others are vague on a good day.
Anti-Stalking laws are intended to address crimes committed through the act of stalking or through different crimes that may have happened in the course of stalking.
There are even Federal Stalking Laws to address crimes that happen when someone travels from one state to another and commits stalking. Sometimes these types of cases are a result of marriages breaking up with one party moving to another state only to be followed and stalked by the other. In other cases it can be a case of obsessed stalking where a victim leaves a state and moves to another state only to have the stalker follow them and continually stalk, harass and abuse them.
Proof: What is it, and What You will Need.
Proof of your stalker doing stalking will help you the most in your case. Proof is what allows other people to see that you have been experiencing what you claim to experience from their point of view.
The nature of stalking is private. This puts the target and the aggressor against one another both at the point of the criminal activity and then again in the eyes of the law. By nature, to remedy a crime or address a grievance there has to be a way to demonstrate several things:
- A crime happened.
- Damages, injury or death occurred as a result of said crime.
- Information, documentation or witnesses can be shown to demonstrate the crime happened.
The intention of this is to show other people who have no direct connection to the crime, that a crime happened in the first place.
Now as the target of a stalker what this means is you are leading multiple lives and have very little recourse and support from others to get through this. So, handle it and start documenting, put up cameras and catch them.
Now, if I play devils advocate for a minute I could say there is nothing to stop a person from turning the tables on their stalker. Since they would be facing the same obstacles as the target if they try to bring their case to the courts for legal remedy.
Since two wrongs don’t make a right, this is the legal system we have to deal with.
By and large the hardest part about a stalking scenario is presenting enough evidence to demonstrate the proof of stalking, to people who have no experience with it, are very likely just as judgmental as you or I and who will show you remarkably little empathy as you go through the legal system.
Navigating the legal system is like anything else. You as the person bringing a case will need to go through the process step by step, handling each step as successfully as possible. With each step you will still have to deal with all of the emotional stress, and difficulties you have already had to endure while being objective enough to work with a legal system that is very new at handling these types of issues. Good Luck.