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The Difference Between a Stalking Injunction and a Protective Order

Interviewer: How do those differ from the typical protective order or restraining order?

Danielle Hawkes: The stalking injunction differs in a couple of different ways. In order to get a protective order, there’s this element of cohabitation that’s required. That element is not required to get a stalking injunction. Cohabitation means that either you live together, or that you were married, or that you have children together. If none of those things are true, we can’t get a protective order. Instead we have to turn to a stalking injunction. It’s common sense of what you would understand as stalking that that’s the harm you have to prove in a stalking injunction is different than a protective order.

The harm in the stalking injunction can actually include things like following someone, talking pictures of someone, phone calls to someone, things like that. Whereas, in a protective order, the level of harm is a little bit higher. Depending on the situation, we really have to be careful about which one we choose to file.

The Dating Violence Order is to Help in Situations where People have not been Cohabitating

Interviewer: You said there are 5. There’s the adults, the children, there was a restraining orders and stalking injunctions. What was the 5th one?

Danielle Hawkes: The dating violence order. That order is to help in situations where the people have not been in cohabitation. They haven’t lived together, they’ve never been married, and they don’t have any children together, so really they’re just dating. They don’t meet the element of cohabitation that’s required for protective order, but the legislators have carved out a different type of order for people who are just in the dating scenario.

Interviewer: What’s that most similar to? Is that more similar to the stalking injunction?

Danielle Hawkes: The protective order.

Physical and/or Sexual Harassment / Assault are Valid Reasons for Filing a Protective Order

Interviewer: It’s more like a protective order. That one has to have some violent aspect within, is that what you’re saying?

Danielle Hawkes: Yeah. I think it’s helpful to define what harm means in a protective order. I’ll just go ahead and do that now. Harm in a protective order, you have to show that there’s some hitting, kicking, pushing, pulling of hair, using a weapon, other types of physical attack, stalking, harassing, kidnapping, sexual assault, restrictive movement, or stopping someone from calling for help, or it can also include breaking things, or throwing things to intimidate someone, or threatening to do any of those things. For the protective order, you’re going to show one instance of past harm, or you’re going to ensure that there’s an imminent danger of future harm.

The definition for harm is different for stalking.

Being Stalked Means that a Person Stayed Physically or Visually Close to you and is an Imminent Threat to Your Well Being

Interviewer: Let’s go on to the stalking really quick here.

Danielle Hawkes: The course of conduct that the court will look for in a stalking case are actions in which the actor follows, monitors, observes, photographs, threatens or communicate to or about a person, or interferes with the person’s property.

There’s a bunch of different ways people can do that. Through any action, method, device, or means directly, indirectly, or through any 3rd party. That can include approaching or confronting a person, appearing at the person’s work place, or contacting the person’s employer, coworkers, appearing at a person’s residence, or contacting a person’s neighbors, entering through property, sending material to any person in the family, employer, coworker, friends, associates, places objects or delivers objects to the property, or uses a computer, the internet, text messaging, or any other electronic means to commit and access part of the course of contact.