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Know the Laws: Alaska

UPDATED September 14, 2017

Stalking and Sexual Assault Protective Orders

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A civil order that protects victims of stalking and sexual assault committed by someone who is not a family or household member.

Basic info and definitions

back to topWhat is stalking?

Under Alaska law, stalking is when someone repeatedly commits acts involving you or a family member that put you in fear of death or physical injury against you or against a family member.*  Some examples of the acts that a stalker could commit are:

  • Following you or appearing within your sight;
  • Approaching or confronting you in a public place or on private property;
  • Showing up at your home or workplace;
  • Coming onto and/or remaining on your property (that you own, lease or are occupying);
  • Sending letters, e-mails or making unwanted telephone calls to you;
  • Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that person;
  • Following or monitoring you with a global positioning device (GPS) or similar technological means; and/or
  • Using, installing, or attempting to use or install a device (including computer software) to watch, record, or photograph events that occur in any residence, vehicle, or workplace used by you, or on a personal telephone or computer that you use.**
Stalking can be either a felony or misdemeanor depending on certain factors.  For example, if the stalker had a deadly weapon at any time during the stalking, commits the stalking in violation of a protective order, the victim is under 16 years old, or was convicted or certain crimes, it could be a felony.***

* Alaska Statute § 11.41.270(a)
** Alaska Statute § 11.41.270(b)(1),(4)
*** Alaska Statute § 11.41.260(a) and (c)

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back to topWhat is sexual assault?

For the purpose of getting a sexual assault or stalking protective order, Alaska law defines sexual assault as any of the crimes listed in sections 11.41.410 through 11.41.450 of the AK Code - the crimes in these sections of the law are called "sexual assault," "sexual abuse of a minor" (which includes statutory rape) and "incest."*  You can read the definition for each of them on our AK Statutes page. Some examples of the acts that can be considered sexual assault are:

  • When someone touches or penetrates a person sexually without that person’s consent;
  • When someone attempts to touch or penetrate a person sexually without that person’s consent and causes serious physical injury;
  • When someone touches or penetrates a person sexually who the offender knows is:
    • mentally incapable;
    • incapacitated; or
    • unaware that a sexual act is being committed;
  • When an employee in a state correctional facility or a law enforcement officer engages in sexual penetration / touching with an inmate or someone in police custody; and
  • Sexual penetration / touching between someone who is age 18 or 19 who is in the custody of the Department of Health and Social Services and his/her legal guardian.**
Note: You can find the legal definition of the terms used above, sexual penetration and sexual contact, on our AK Statutes page (scroll down to sections (b)(58) and (b)(59) of the section we link you to, section 11.81.900).

* Alaska Statute §§ 18.65.870(3);18.66.990(9); 11.41.410 through 11.41.450
** Alaska Statute §§ 18.66.990(9); 11.41.410 through 11.41.427
*** Alaska Statute §§ 18.66.990(9); 11.41.434 through 11.41.440
**** Alaska Statute §§ 18.66.990(9); 11.41.450

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back to topWhat is a stalking or sexual assault protective order?

A stalking or sexual assault protective order is a civil court order that is similar to a protective order for domestic violence, but it is designed to specifically protect you from stalking / harassing behavior or sexual assault. If you and the offender are not members of the same household (also called "household members"), you could file for the stalking or sexual assault protective order explained in this section. If you and the offender are household members, you would instead file for a domestic violence protective order.

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back to topWhat types of stalking or sexual assault protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are three types of stalking or sexual assault protective orders:

An emergency order is a temporary, emergency order that a police officer requests from a judge (orally, in writing, in person or by telephone) on behalf of a victim of sexual assault or stalking with the victim’s consent. If the judge believes that the petitioner (victim) is in immediate danger of stalking or sexual assault based on an allegation either has recently occurred, the judge is supposed to issue the emergency protective order. It generally lasts for 72 hours.*

An ex parte order is a temporary order that you would request from the judge in court for immediate protection. To get this order, the judge must believe (from reading your petition) that you have been the victim of stalking or sexual assault and that an immediate protective order is necessary. It generally lasts for 20 days.**

A final order (also called a “long-term” order), is issued by the judge following a hearing in court. At the hearing, the judge will review your petition (request) for a protective order as well as any evidence or witnesses you bring to court with you. If you are granted a final order, it will generally last for 6 months.***

* Alaska Statute § 18.65.855(b)
** Alaska Statute § 18.65.855(a)
*** Alaska Statute § 18.65.850(b)

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back to topHow can a stalking or sexual assault protective order help me?

A temporary or long term stalking or sexual assault protective order can:

  • Order the offender to stop threatening to commit or committing stalking or sexual assault;
  • Order the offender to stop calling you, contacting you, or communicating with you directly (or indirectly through a third party). This could also apply to a household member if that person is specifically listed on your protective order;
  • Order the offender to stay away from your home, school, workplace, or any other place listed in your order. However, if the offender lives with, goes to school with, or works with you, s/he will have to have been given actual notice of the opportunity to attend the protective order hearing before s/he can be ordered to stay away from your home, school, or workplace; and/or
  • Order other relief that the judge thinks is necessary to protect you or a specific household member.*
* Alaska Statute §§ 18.65.850(c), 18.65.855(a)

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Getting an order

back to topI'm a victim of stalking or sexual assault. Do I file for a stalking or sexual assault protective order or a domestic violence protective order?

Both stalking or sexual assault protective orders and domestic violence protective orders can protect victims of stalking or sexual assault.  Deciding which type of protective order to file depends on your relationship to the perpetrator.

If you and the perpetrator are not members of the same household (also called “household members”), you need to file for a stalking or sexual assault protective order.*  If you and the perpetrator are household members, you need to file for a domestic violence protective order.**  See Who can file for a domestic violence protective order? for the definition of “household member.”

* Alaska Statute § 88.65.850(a)
** Alaska Statute §18.66.100(a)

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back to topCan I still get an order even if I waited a long time to file after being sexually assaulted?

Yes.  The judge cannot deny your petition for a protective order if the only reason is that there has been a lapse of time between the sexual assault and the filing of the petition.*

* Alaska Statute § 18.65.850(e)

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back to topCan minors get stalking or sexual assault protective orders?

A parent or guardian may file a petition for a protective order on behalf of a minor (under age 18) who has been the victim of stalking or sexual assault.*

* Alaska Statute §18.65.850(a)

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back to topHow much does it cost to get and serve a protective order? Do I need a lawyer?

Nothing.  There is no filing fee to get any protective order.*  Also, you can have law enforcement serve the order and, as long as there are no other petitions being served with the protective order, there will be no fee for service.**

Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a protective order, you may want to have a lawyer, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.  Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, you may want to speak to one before taking any legal action to make sure your rights are protected.

You can find contact information for lawyers in your area on the AK Finding a Lawyer page.  If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help with your case, you can find contact information for organizations that provide legal services, some of which may be free or low-cost if you qualify.

* Alaska Statute §18.65.865(b)
** Alaska Statute §§ 18.65.865(a); 18.66.160(a),(c)

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back to topWhat are the steps for filing for a stalking or sexual assault protective order?

To request a stalking or sexual assault protective order from a judge, you generally need to file a petition (a written request) in your local district or superior court.*  To get a copy of the forms for a stalking or sexual assault protective order, go to your local district court or superior court, domestic violence or sexual assault support organization, or download the forms from the AK courts website.  (To find the courthouse near you, go to AK Courthouse Locations).  You may request either an ex parte 20-day order for immediate protection or a hearing for a final one-year order, or both.**

The AK courts website provides very detailed instructions for filing the petition, which we have summarized in the section Steps for getting a domestic violence protective order.  Generally, the steps for filing for a stalking or sexual assault protective order are the same as the steps for getting a domestic violence protective order, so we suggest that you read through that section before starting the process of filing.

* Alaska Statute §18.65.850(a)
** See the AK Court System Instructions for Requesting a Protective Order Against Stalking or Sexual Assault

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After the hearing

back to topWhat should I do when I leave the courtroom?

These are some things you may want to consider after you have been granted a protective order.  Depending on what you think is safest in your situation, you may do any or all of the following:

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse.  If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk how to correct the order before you leave.
  • Make several copies of the protective order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • You might want to inform your employer, clergy, family members, and/or your closest friends that you have a protective order in effect so that they can be aware of the restrictions on the abuser.
  • Leave copies of the order at your work place, at your home, at the children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks and your phone number.
Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order.  Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  Click on the following link for suggestions about Staying Safe.  Advocates at local resource centers can help you design a safety plan and can provide other forms of support.  You can find an advocate in your area on the AK State and Local Programs page.

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back to topI was not granted a protective order. What are my options?

If you are not granted a protective order, there are still some things you can do to try to stay safe.  For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Staying Safe page.  You will find a list of resources on our AK Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page.  If you are the victim of sexual abuse, you may want to reach out to an organization for support.  See the national organizations listed on our Rape/ Sexual Assault page.  You can also read more about sexual assault and rape on our Sexual Assault / Rape page.

You may be able to reapply for a protective order if a new incident of staklking or sexual assault occurs after you are denied the order.

If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal.  Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer.  For basic information about appeals, go to our Filing Appeals page.  For legal referrals, go to AK Finding a Lawyer.

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back to topWhat if the abuser violates the order?

If you believe that the abuser has violated the protective order and you feel unsafe, you can immediately call 911 or your local police.  Also, you can call your lawyer (if you have one), an advocate at a sexual assault organization, and/or let the court know about the violation by filing a violation petition in court.  The violation of an order can be a misdemeanor crime, which can be punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $25,000.*

According to Alaska law, the police are supposed to make an arrest if:

  1. you report the violation within 12 hours after it happened; and
  2. the police have "probable cause" (a reasonable belief) that the crime of violating the protective order likely occurred.**  

To determine if there is probable cause, officers may talk to you, the abuser, and any other witnesses, examine the place where the violation happened, and consider other relevant factors.  However, you should know that there are some exceptions to these general rules, so an arrest might not be made in every case.

Note: When the police arrive, it is generally a good idea to write down the name of the officer(s) that are there and their badge numbers in case you want to follow up on your case.  Make sure a police report is filled out, even if no arrest is made.  This type of documentation may help you get the order modified (changed) in the future, if necessary.

* Alaska Statute § 18.65.865(b)
** Alaska Statute § 18.65.530(a)(2)

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back to topCan I get my protective order from Alaska enforced in another state?

Yes.  Please see our Moving to Another State with an AK Protective Order page for more details.

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back to topCan I change or end an order from the court?

After the court issues the protective order, you can ask the court to change (modify) or end (dissolve) the order.  The abuser (called the “respondent” in court) can also do this.   You will need to fill out the required paperwork, which is available at the court clerk’s office.*

Only the judge has the power to modify the order.  If you are trying to modify an ex parte protective order, the court will schedule a hearing on three days' notice or on less.  If you are trying to modify a long term order, the court will schedule a hearing within 20 days after the date the request is made if the court finds that the request to modify the order has merit (value).**

You and the abuser cannot change the order simply by agreeing outside of the legal process.  Even if both of you agree to change part of the order, you must still go through the legal system for the change to be enforceable.  It is not valid unless it is written in a court order.  Allowing the abuser to ignore one part of the order could encourage violations of other parts.

Generally, you cannot extend a long term protective order. You will need to fill out a new petition and begin the process again.  To get another order, you should describe any new incidents of sexual assault or stalking that occurred since the previous protective order was granted or state the reason that you believe you continue to need the court's protection.

* See the AK Court System Instructions for Requesting a Protective Order Against Stalking or Sexual Assault
** Alaska Statute § 18.65.860(a)

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Additional information

back to topThe person who sexually assaulted me is being prosecuted in criminal court. Can my sexual history be brought up when I testify?

If the person who sexually assaulted you was arrested and the case goes to trial, you will most likely have to testify about what happened.  Alaska has a state law designed to prevent a victim of sexual assault from being re-victimized in the courtroom.  The law states that in a prosecution for the crimes of sexual assault in any degree, sexual abuse of a minor in any degree, unlawful exploitation of a minor, or an attempt to commit any of these crimes, before evidence of your sexual conduct (occurring either before or after the crime) can be brought up in court, the information must first be presented to the judge (without the jury hearing it).  The judge may allow the information only if s/he determines that your past sexual conduct is relevant to the case and that the importance of the information outweighs the invasion of your privacy and any prejudice or confusion that it may cause to the jury.*

* See Alaska Statute § 12.45.045(a)

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back to topWhere can I find additional information about sexual assault?

To read more about sexual assault, you can go to our Learn about Abuse page.  If you have been sexually assaulted, there are several places you may call for help:

  • Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Free, confidential, 24 hrs.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3244 (TTY) for support, shelter, or services. Free, confidential, 24 hrs.
  • If you know a child who is being abused or neglected call the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline for advice and information. This is not the same as reporting the abuse - the purpose is to give you information on options. 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453) Free, confidential, 24 hrs.
  • For stalking, call the National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center at 1-800- FYI-CALL (394-2255) M-F, 8:30 am- 8:30 pm EST or visit their website.
  • For help with legal information, contact Email Hotline at WomensLaw.org

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back to topWhere can I find additional information on stalking?

You can read more about stalking and cyberstalking and find additional resources in our Learn about Abuse section, on the Stalking/Cyberstalking page.  You can read the definitions of the crimes of stalking and harassment in Alaska on our Legal Statutes pages here: 11.41.260, 11.41.270, 11.61.118 and 11.61.120.

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