How to Stop a Stalker
by Paralegal Daniel Arevalo and Attorney Alexis Simmons
In Illinois, stalking is a crime that occurs when one person intentionally and repeatedly follows, harasses, or threatens another person, causing them to feel afraid or threatened (720 ILCS 5/12-7.3).
To be found guilty of stalking in Illinois, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant engaged in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of their family. The course of conduct must be intentional, meaning that the defendant intended to engage in the behavior that caused fear or threat to the victim.
Some examples of conduct that could be considered stalking in Illinois include:
Following or surveilling the victim
Threatening to harm the victim or their loved ones
Making repeated phone calls or sending unwanted emails or messages
Damaging the victim's property
Showing up at the victim's workplace or home uninvited
If you are being stalked, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. You can report stalking to the police, and you may also be able to get a restraining order to help protect you from further harm.
What are some things one can do to avoid being stalked?
There are a few steps you can take to try to avoid being stalked:
Be aware of your surroundings: Pay attention to who is around you and be alert for any suspicious behavior. However, keep in mind that most stalkers know their victims, so it's usually not a stranger that will engage in stalking.
Use privacy settings on social media: Be mindful of the information you share online and use privacy settings to control who can see your posts and personal information. Also be aware of spyware or apps that can be installed on your phone without your knowledge.
Consider an order of protection: If you are being stalked and are in fear for your safety, you may be able to get an order of protection (also known as a restraining order) to protect yourself and your children.
Get help: If you are being stalked, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. You can report stalking to the police, and you may also be able to get a restraining order to help protect you from further harm. Contact a family law attorney to assist you in this process.
Vary your routine: Stalkers often try to predict their victims' movements, so try to mix up your routine and vary your routes to reduce the chance of being followed.
Trust your instincts: If you feel like someone is following you or threatening you, don't ignore your instincts. Take steps to protect yourself.
How can an order of protection help someone being stalked in Illinois?
An order of protection, also known as a restraining order, is a legal document issued by a court that orders someone to stop certain behaviors that are harmful or threatening to another person. In Illinois, an order of protection can be issued to protect someone who is being stalked.
If you have a family or dating relationship with the stalker, you can file a Petition for Order of Protection. Otherwise, you must file a Petition for Stalking No Contact Order. These orders have similar impacts, in that they do not allow the stalker to have contact with you. However, there are more remedies available in an order of protection.
Remedies for these types of orders include:
Prohibiting the stalker from contacting, threatening, or harassing the victim
Prohibiting the stalker from coming within a certain distance of the victim, their home, their work, or their school
Requiring the stalker to surrender any firearms or weapons in their possession
Ordering the stalker to pay the victim's attorney fees
Granting temporary custody of any shared children to the victim (orders of protection only)
An order of protection or stalking no contact order can be issued by a court on a temporary or emergency basis without the stalker present, and a hearing will be scheduled for a later date to give the stalker an opportunity to contest the order. If the stalker violates the terms of the order, they can be arrested and charged with a crime.
If you are being stalked in Illinois and are in fear for your safety, you may be able to get an order of protection or stalking no contact order to help protect you from further harm. It is important to seek help as soon as possible.
What can I do if the police aren’t taking my report about a stalker seriously in Illinois?
If you feel that the police are not taking your report of stalking seriously, there are a few steps you can take:
Document everything: Keep a record of all incidents of stalking, including the dates, times, and any details about the behavior that you can remember. This will help you provide a clear and accurate account of the stalking to the police or your attorney.
Get support: Consider reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. They can help you cope with the stress and fear of being stalked and may be able to provide additional resources or assistance.
Contact a family law lawyer: a family law lawyer specializes in situations where a legal remedy is appropriate and can help advocate for your interests in court and assist you in obtaining an order of protection and other legal assistance.
Consider seeking an order of protection or stalking no contact order: these orders, also known as restraining orders, are legal documents issued by a court that orders someone to stop certain behaviors that are harmful or threatening to another person. If you are in fear for your safety, you may be able to get an order of protection to help protect you from further harm. Physical evidence or harm is not necessary to be granted a restraining order.
Contact the victim services department of the State's Attorney's Office: Victim advocates can provide support and assistance to victims of crime, including stalking. They may be able to help you navigate the legal process and advocate for your rights.
Contact a domestic violence hotline: Domestic violence hotlines can provide support, information, and referrals to victims of stalking and other forms of domestic violence. They may be able to connect you with additional resources or support.
It is important to remember that you have the right to be taken seriously and to be treated with respect and dignity by the police. If you continue to feel that your report of stalking is not being taken seriously, you may want to consider seeking assistance from an attorney or submitting a complaint to the State Attorney’s Office.
Being stalked is a serious issue, but help is available. If you want to take action in court or just explore what options you may have, call now to schedule a consultation or schedule through our website.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. It should not be construed as legal advice nor is it a substitute for legal counsel. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information provided in this post without seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice from a lawyer licensed in your state, country, or other jurisdiction.