About Abuse Protection Orders
A protection order, sometimes called a restraining order, is a court order intended to protect a person from abuse or harm. In the case of stalking, a protection order can demand that the stalker cease or limit contact with the victim, including stopping communications and staying away from the victim’s home, workplace, or anyplace the person happens to be.
The Vermont legal system is required by federal law to honor most protection orders issued by other states. For more information about getting a protection order, contact a Network advocate in your community.
Stalking Fact Sheet (PDF)
Stalking is the repeated following, watching, and / or harassing of another person in a way that would cause a reasonable person to be fearful.
The stalker is often trying to force a relationship with someone who is unwilling. The stalker may go to great lengths in order to know what the person they are stalking is doing at all times. Stalking behaviors can cause the victim emotional distress or fear for her or his personal safety, or the safety of her or his family.
Stalking, like sexual violence, is often committed by someone the victim knows. Stalkers may be current or former intimate partners and stalking behavior is often linked with domestic violence. However, stalkers may also be someone the victim went on just a few dates with, someone the victim works with or someone the victim has only met briefly.
Stalkers may intimidate a person in a number of ways.
- Following the victim
- Watching the victim’s home or place of employment
- Writing letters or sending unwanted gifts to the victim or their family
- Spreading rumors
- Making repeated and unwanted phone calls, texts, emails, or contacts through social networking websites
- Threatening to commit physical or sexual violence
- Threatening to harm themselves as a way to intimidate the person they’re stalking
- Using GPS, cell phone tracking and other technology to constantly track the victim’s location
Stalking is against the law in every state including Vermont.
Stalking can affect a victim’s life dramatically by interfering with work, home, and social situations as well as affecting the lives of friends and family. Stalking can also get worse over time and can lead to violence. If you or someone you know is being stalked, call the Vermont domestic or sexual violence hotlines or the Member Program in your community.
According to the national Stalking Resource Center’s “Stalking Fact Sheet” (PDF):
- Every year, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or older are victims of stalking.
- 3 in 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
- 30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
- Females experienced 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 or older, males at a rate of 7 per 1,000.
- People between the ages of 18 and 24 experienced the highest rates of stalking victimization.
If you think you are being stalked, contact an advocate for information and support, or click here for information from the national Stalking Resource Center.