"Stalking" is a term commonly used to refer to a pattern of behavior directed toward an individual by another that results in the person to whom the behavior is directed fearing for himself/herself or others. The behaviors can involve overtly criminal behavior or seemingly non-criminal, innocent behavior or both. Stalking can escalate and ultimately result in actual physical harm to its intended subject.
In contrast to many other criminal offenses, stalking involves repeated victimization of the targeted individual. Stalking, therefore, is a series of acts or a course of conduct and never a single incident. Another contrast between other criminal offenses and stalking:
Oregon Revised Statue 163.732 (Stalking)
A person commits the crime of stalking if:
- The person knowingly alarms or coerces another person or a member of that person’s immediate family or household by engaging in repeated and unwanted contact with the other person;
- It is objectively reasonable for a person in the victim’s situation to have been alarmed or coerced by the contact; and
- The repeated and unwanted contact causes the victim reasonable apprehension regarding the personal safety of the victim or a member of the victim’s immediate family or household.
- Stalking is a Class A misdemeanor.
How to Stop Stalking
Although anti-stalking laws give police and prosecutors the tools to arrest and charge stalkers with serious criminal offenses, victims of stalking have an important role to play in making these laws work. Law enforcement officials, domestic violence counselors and mental health professionals offer the following advice to victims on how to stop a stalker:
- Know the law and cooperate with prosecutors. Many stalking victims refuse to prosecute the stalker, thereby leaving themselves vulnerable to continued threats and violence. Some victims fear that prosecution will provoke worse behavior from the perpetrator. Nevertheless, victims should use the legal system and break any bond that may exist between themselves and the stalker.
- Protect yourself. Persons who are stalked should take steps to protect themselves. Neighbors and coworkers should be informed about the stalker, be given a photograph of the suspect, and be instructed on what to do if the stalker is sighted. Security officers at the victim's workplace should be provided with this information. Caller ID, which identifies telephone callers, should be installed on the victim's home telephone. If the stalker makes repeated phone calls, the victim should ask the police to set up a phone tap.
A stalking victim should collect and preserve evidence that can be used to prosecute and convict the stalker. Police suggest that the victim keep a diary of stalking and other crimes committed by the perpetrator. It is also a good idea to photograph property destroyed by the stalker and any injuries inflicted by the stalker. The victim should keep all letters or notes written by the stalker and all telephone and text messages from the perpetrator.
Getting a Stalking Protective Order (ORS 30.866)
Procedures are different from court to court. Check with your local court for filing instructions.
What is a Stalking Protective Order?
A Stalking Protective Order is a court order that tells a person who has made unwanted contact with you or a member of your immediate family or household to stop this behavior.
Requirements to Obtain a Stalking Protective Order
To obtain a Stalking Protective Order under Oregon law, you must have been contacted two separate times within the past two years. The law says stalking is repeated and unwanted contact that is alarming (causes fear) or coercive (forceful) to you and it is reasonable for you to feel alarmed or coerced and the contacts cause you to reasonably fear for your physical safety.
Some Examples of Stalking Behavior
Some examples of contacts or behaviors that may be grounds for a Stalking Protective Order are:
- Waiting outside your home, school or work.
- Following you.
- Committing a crime against you.
- Letters, phone calls, emails or text messages that threaten immediate serious personal violence.
File for a Stalking Protective Order
You must file for a Stalking Protective Order in the courthouse in the county where the stalker lives or where the unwanted contacts took place. Getting a Stalking Protective Order is free unless you want to ask the court to award you damages. These forms are not meant to be used to ask the court to order the stalker to pay damages you may have suffered as a result of the stalking activity. If you want to ask for damages, you likely will need the help of a lawyer. To find a lawyer, you may call the Oregon State Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service at 503-684-3763 or 800-452-7636. If you believe you cannot afford a lawyer, ask court staff if your area has a legal services (legal aid) program that might help you.
Notify Public Safety of Restraining and Stalking Orders
Persons who apply for or obtain protective, restraining or stalking orders that list college locations as being protected areas are required to provide Public Safety in Room AC2330 with a copy of the petition and declarations used to seek the order, a copy of any temporary order that is granted and a copy of any order that is made permanent.