Should I Get a Stalking Protection Order?
This is a personal decision. You are the most knowledgeable person about your own situation. Trust your instincts and judgment, seek help from friends and family, and explore the links and guidelines on the Safety Tips & Resources page
For help assessing your situation, try completing the Stalking and Harassment Assessment and Risk Profile (SHARP). It may help you determine appropriate next steps.
Your Ongoing Safety
While court orders can stop stalking behavior in some situations, they may not always be the safest option. Some stalkers may stop when the court or police are involved, but others may continue despite possible consequences.
When protection orders are put into place it can be a risky time. The stalker may feel that they are losing control, or they may be angry about a having a boundary imposed. Make sure that if you decide to petition for a stalking protection order, you have talked about a safety plan with an advocate, law enforcement, your employer, school, friend and/ or family member.
There is no fee to file a stalking protection order, and hiring an attorney is not required
Filing for a protection order is a free service. While some people choose to hire an attorney, it is not required to have an attorney represent you. If you want to look into hiring an attorney, your county’s Bar Association — such as the King County Bar Association — is a good place to start.
What does the stalker know about you?
To file a stalking protection order, you will need to provide your name on the paperwork. You do not have to reveal your date of birth or address to the stalker, although law enforcement will need this information.
If your stalker does not know who you are, be aware that you will need to provide your name on the stalking protection order. You may not want to file for a stalking protection order if revealing your name outweighs the benefit of having the order.
If you are not sure if the stalker knows who you are, then consider the potential impact of the stalker knowing your name. If the impact is too great, filing for a stalking protection order may not be the best course of action.
What do you know about the stalker?
To file a stalking protection order, you will at least need to provide a name for the stalker. The court has to know the identity of the stalker to be able to issue an order against them. Any other identifying information about the person (such as address, date of birth, etc.) would help. If you do not know the stalkers’ name, your local law enforcement agency may be able to help identify them.
BE AWARE: The stalker will have the opportunity to read your petition and respond.
One of the most difficult parts of this process can be having to face the stalker in court. Be aware that if you file an order, the stalker, if successfully served, will read the paperwork you complete including your reasons for requesting the order. The law requires that the respondent of a stalking protection order has an opportunity to respond to the petition before the judge makes a decision whether or not to issue the order. If the stalker chooses to respond, they may come to the court hearing. If you feel this possibility puts you at more risk, contact the court to request a telephonic hearing.
BE AWARE: You will need to attend at least two court hearings:
- The Ex-parte hearing: At this first hearing you will submit your petition and appear before a judge to ask for a temporary emergency order.
- The Full hearing: This next hearing is scheduled 2 weeks later to give time for the stalker, now the “respondent,” to be served with your petition and notice of hearing. The respondent has the option to respond to the petition by attending this hearing.
BE AWARE: Your petition and stalking protection order is considered a public record once it is filed with the court.
Can I get a Stalking Protection Order?
Who is eligible for a Stalking Protection Order? What other types of legal protections are available?