Stalking, threats and acts of violence can start out of nowhere and happen to anyone. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 14 out of every 1,000 adults will experience some form of stalking every year. Three-quarters of all stalking victims know their tormentor in some way or another.
If you’re being harassed, threatened with violence or outright stalked by someone, you may need either an order of protection or a stalking no-contact order. While similar in function, there are some distinct differences between the two.
What’s an order of protection?
In Illinois, an order of protection is only used to restrict the actions of a family or household member who has interfered with your personal liberty in some way, harassed you, threatened you or physically hit you. The law defines “family and household members” as:
- Anybody blood-related
- Married couples
- Divorced couples
- Parents of a child in common, regardless of their relationship to each other
- Couples who are merely dating or used to date
- Members of same-sex couples who meet any of those definitions
- The personal assistants to people suffering from disabilities
Once filed, the court can restrict the abuser’s access to a home they might share with the victim, prevent the abuser from having contact with any minor children and impose other temporary requirements until a full hearing can be held to determine the veracity of the allegations.
What’s a stalking no contact order?
Despite the somewhat broad definitions of “household members and family” used by the law, not every harasser or stalker falls into that category. To qualify for this order you need to show that the person’s actions aren’t just an isolated event. You may need this kind of order when:
- A co-worker won’t take “no” for an answer and begins showing up at your house, calling you nonstop and otherwise harassing you
- You have a falling out with an acquaintance and they slash your tires, throw paint on your fence or otherwise threaten and harass you.
An emergency order will allow the police to confiscate the harasser’s weapons and the judge to issue further limitations. The stalker can be arrested for any violations. A formal hearing will eventually be held to determine if the orders should stand.
If you’re a parent struggling with someone’s threatening, abusive behavior toward you or your child, find out more about your options today.