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Abuse Using Technology

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August 11, 2016

Can I get a restraining order based on cyberstalking or online harassment?

In many states, you can file for a restraining order against anyone who has stalked or harassed you, even if you do not have a specific relationship with that person. In addition, most states include stalking as a reason to get a domestic violence restraining order (and some include harassment). Please check the Restraining Orders page for your state to find out what types of restraining orders there are in your state and which one may apply to your situation.

Even if your state does not have a specific restraining order for stalking or harassment and you do not qualify for a domestic violence restraining order, you may be able to get one from the criminal court if the stalker/harasser is arrested. Since stalking is a crime (and in some states, harassment is too), the police may arrest someone who has been stalking or harassing you. Generally, it is a good idea to keep track of any contact a stalker/harasser has with you. You may want to keep track of any phone calls, drive-bys, text messages, voicemails, emails (print out what you can, with headers including date and time if possible), or anything the stalker/harasser does that harasses you or makes you afraid. The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center has a stalking incident log that you may wish you use to record this information. Safety Net, a project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, has a sample cyberstalking incident log with tips on how to best document evidence of technology abuse.

With or without a restraining order, there are things you can do to try to stay safe. Go to our Safety Tips for Stalking Victims page for more information.