Legal Definition of Stalking

Legal definition of stalking! what is the Legal definition of stalking and is it helpful to find the Legal definition of stalking?

legal definition of stalking

The term stalking has multiple definitions, all meaning the same thing in the end. Stalking is a crime, like domestic violence, that gives the perpetrator a feeling of power and control over their victim. Though all stalking definitions have the same meaning, they are worded differently. Let’s look at the legal definition of stalking and other close interpretations of the laws.

The legal definition of stalking

The legal definition of stalking, according to the Department of Justice, is a “pattern of repeated threatening or harassing behaviors that directly or indirectly communicate a threat, or place the victim in fear.”

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ)conservatively defines stalking as “ as course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear.”

Both definitions declare that stalking is unwanted and repeated behavior from one unto.

The legal definition of stalking: Threatening behavior

There are many different behaviors a stalker can bear, including a persistent pattern of unwanted advances, gifts and communications with a victim. In many cases, but not all, victims are threatened with physical harm. Threats can include violence against the victim, threatening to damage property or causing harm to the victim’s immediate family.

The legal definition of stalking: Online Stalking

With the improvement of technology, and electronic mechanisms, such as phone, fax, GPS, computer spyware, Internet and cameras, stalkers are finding more tools to make their illegal actions easier. Cyberstalking laws have been implemented to help protect victims from being harassed online.


The John Jay College of Criminal Justice has released a list of different ways to know if you are being stalked. Here is the list published on the college’s website.

  • Someone is constantly following and spying on you
  • Someone is constantly calling you at home and work
  • You are receiving multiple unprovoked and unwanted emails, letters, faxes and texts
  • You find unwanted gifts left at your doorstep, your office, on your car or sent in the mail
  • You discover your property has been damaged or vandalized
  • You receive constant threats regarding your health and safety. Who can also target these threats toward your pets and family members
  • Someone is repeatedly showing up everywhere you go with no reason for being there

The legal definition of stalking: What to do

If any of these actions are happening, you must file a police report immediately. Save all gifts, emails, and text messages and document all suspicious activities by your suspected stalker. Avoid walking or going anywhere alone, and have a plan of action should you come face-to-face with your stalker.

Other things you can do to protect yourself are to change your daily routine, notify others of your situation and file for an Order of Protection. Being stalked is not something to take lightly. Though it may be innocent initially when the stalker does not receive any replies, their activities may escalate and be harmful.

The legal definition of stalking: Victims

Though stalking can be targeted toward both men and women, trends show that women are more likely to fall victim to this type of criminal activity. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey revealed that one in six women are stalked. That is a higher ratio than the one in 19 men who have been stalked. Women are more likely to be stalked by a former partner or an acquaintance. According to the CDC’s survey, two-thirds are stalked by former partners and nearly-one quarter are stalked by someone they know. Very few victims, approximately one out of eight, are stalked by a stranger.

The legal definition of stalking: Charges

If someone commit’s a crime involving stalking, they can be charged with aggravated stalking. In addition to the stalking charges, the perpetrator may also be served with a temporary restraining order, trespassing or other similar court orders.

President Obama announced that March would be National Stalking Awareness Month in a Presidential Proclamation. This year, 2014, would be the first year the proclamation would be in effect. This is just one of many continued efforts to help raise awareness and protect victims of stalking.

If you feel you are being stalked, start taking notes and documenting everything. Immediately seek the help of your local police department. They will instruct you on how to handle the situation and if you should seek court-ordered protection.

It is also essential that the definition of stalking is spread worldwide so that victims of stalking know what they are dealing with. In comes the information provided with the definition of stalking.

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