“It’s important that victims know their rights and learn to protect themselves during the process of exposing the stalker while working to bring about prosecution.”
Sometimes, while rare, the threat of prosecution will stop the stalker from continuing the ‘cat and mouse game’ in which they’re engaged. This is a best case scenario and we strongly advise against antagonizing a stalker — if they stop, consider carefully whether you should proceed. Instead, contact and discuss the case with a Stalking Consultant and learn about your options from a qualified specialist.
“Every state has now enacted some form of criminal stalking law, and several also have civil stalking statutes that enable victims to sue stalkers for monetary damages. (See the Stalking Resource Center Web site, VICTIMS OF CRIME.ORG, for the complete texts of all current state civil stalking statutes.) In states with civil stalking statutes, stalking victims do not necessarily have to proceed under any of the particular causes of action outlined in Box B (e.g., assault or trespass) but rather can simply claim stalking as the basis for the lawsuit.
Civil stalking statutes differ in several ways. Some statutes specifically define the prohibited conduct (stalking).3 Others simply declare that a victim has a civil cause of action for conduct that violates that state’s criminal stalking law.4 In these cases, victims sue under the same statute that would be used to criminally prosecute the offender. Yet in civil court, the burden of proof is not as demanding as it is in criminal court (i.e., to establish liability, the plaintiff must show a preponderance of evidence rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as required in criminal cases). Offenders held liable must pay financial damages but do not face jail time or fines, as they would in a criminal case.
A third category of statute (often called “malicious harassment” statutes) does not specifically reference stalking but creates a civil cause of action for specific behaviors, such as harassment. These statutes cover stalking behaviors such as defacing or destroying a victim’s property.5 Victims of malicious harassment may recover damages for emotional distress and also collect attorney fees and punitive damages.”
— Jennifer St. Clair for The Source