What is a Stalking Protection Order?
A Stalking Protection Order is a court order that makes it a crime for the stalker to continue the stalking behavior. This means that if the stalker violates the terms of the order, he or she can be arrested and subject to criminal prosecution.
Why we have a Stalking Protection Order
In 2013, WA State created an option for a Stalking Protection Order to strengthen available protections for victims of stranger or acquaintance stalking who do not have a family, dating or intimate relationship with the stalker. Read what the legislature said about the need for a Stalking Protection Order option here.
This legislation was created in part because of the Jennifer Paulson Story and other accounts of unchecked stalking behavior.
There are two types of Stalking Protection Orders:
A “Civil” Stalking Protection Order is an order that anyone who believes they are being stalked by someone other than a current or former intimate partner, family or household member can request from the court. It is not necessary to have made a report to the police to petition for this protection.
A “Criminal” Stalking Protection Order (often called a Stalking No Contact Order or a Court-initiated Stalking No Contact Order) is sometimes issued against a defendant (person charged with a crime) in criminal stalking cases that are being prosecuted.
Who it’s for
Any man, woman or child who is a victim of stalking conduct is eligible for legal protection. There are some conditions that must be met. See Can I get a Stalking Protection Order for more details
If you have or have had a familial, roommate, intimate or dating relationship with the stalker, you qualify to apply for a Domestic Violence Protection Order, which offers additional protections. Please visit protectionorder.org for more information.
What a stalking protection order can do
A Stalking Protection Order can prohibit someone from having contact with you. (Here is a list of what the court can prohibit or order.) If they don’t stop, they could be charged with a crime.
The order puts the stalker on notice that their behavior is unwanted and potentially illegal. If the stalker violates any condition of the order, the police may be able to arrest or cite the stalker for a crime.
Sometimes having an order helps to highlight the severity, intent and pattern of the stalking behavior especially when a single incident may not always seem criminal or even concerning.
Stalking Protection Orders are valid in all 50 states, in the District of Columbia, and on all tribal lands and US territories.
Limitations of a Stalking Protection Order
While it can be helpful in some ways, a stalking protection order cannot guarantee safety, and a stalking protection order cannot guarantee the stalking behavior will stop. Even if you have legal protection, consider taking other appropriate steps to protect yourself.
Should I get a Stalking Protection Order?
Important questions and considerations for individuals considering filing for a Stalking Protection Order.