Stalking and the protective order

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Far too often, Virginians find themselves in unhealthy relationships that turn violent. Individuals in these types of relationships may wind up being victims of physical and emotional abuse, and they might live their everyday lives in fear. In these instances, it is certainly critical to obtain a protective order to ensure the safety of the adult as well as any children that may be living in the home. But what about instances where an individual may have a reasonable fear of harm but has not actually been physically hit?

It is still possible to get a protective order in these instances. Let us look at stalking, for example. Stalking occurs when an individual is followed by another, he or she is subjected to repeated harassment, his or her property is vandalized or the stalker constantly appears at the individual's workplace or home.

There are essentially three types of stalking. One involves obsession with a public figure or another individual who is out of reach. Another involves an obsession with someone an individual thinks they are in love with. The last is an obsession with someone the perpetrator knows. The latter typically arises in the domestic violence context.

In short, if the acts put the individual in fear for his or her safety, it may be possible to obtain a protection order. Yet, it may take a lot of courage to move forward with taking this legal action. With this in mind, it might be best to not go at it alone. By speaking with an attorney, a victim of stalking may be able to find out how they can ensure their and their children's protection and discover how a protective order might affect any lingering family issues or divorce disputes.

Source: FindLaw, "Stalking and Domestic Violence," accessed on Sep. 20, 2015

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