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What can I do when my spouse stalks me?

What can I do when my spouse stalks me?

If you are a Pennsylvania resident who is being stalked by your intimate partner, you are not alone. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that intimate partner stalking accounts for 66 percent of female stalking victims and 41 percent of male stalking victims.

Pennsylvania considers stalking to be a crime. It entails someone following you in such a way that you become afraid and/or upset. Examples of stalking include the following:

  • Following you by car or on foot
  • Watching you at home or at work
  • Making unwanted phone calls to you
  • Sending unwanted emails or letters to you
  • Sending unwanted gifts, cards or flowers to you

What you can do

There are several things you can do to protect yourself from intimate partner stalking, including the following:

  • Send a defiant trespass letter
  • Get a protection from abuse order
  • Get a victim and/or witness protective order

Defiant trespass letter

You can mail a defiant trespass letter to your stalker telling him or her not to come near you at home, school or work. This letter should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof of when you mailed it and when your stalker received it. Be sure to send a copy to the police.

Protection from abuse order

Each Pennsylvania county has its own PFA process, but in general you must prove the following in order to get one from the court:

  1. You are or were married to your stalker, have children with him or her, are having or have had an intimate relationship with him or her, or are related to him or her by blood or marriage.
  2. Your stalker has followed or contacted you without your consent and for no lawful reason, and you are afraid that he or she will inflict serious bodily injury on you.

Victim or witness protection order

If your stalker has been charged with a crime, ask the prosecutor to request a victim or witness protection order from the court. Be aware that the court must determine by substantial evidence that you have been intimidated by your stalker or likely will be in the future. Also be aware that such an order lasts only until the criminal prosecution concludes by dismissal, plea bargain, or trial. This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

For more information, contact Louis Wm. Martini, attorney at law.

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