What 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.
What 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 Alaska Code - the crimes in these sections of the law are called “sexual assault,” “sexual abuse of a minor,” which includes statutory rape, and “incest.”1 You can read the definition for each of them on our Selected Alaska 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.2
Note: You can find the legal definition of the terms used above, sexual penetration and sexual contact, on our Selected Alaska Statutes page (scroll down to sections (b)(58) and (b)(59) of the section we link you to, section 11.81.900).
1 Alaska Statute §§ 18.65.870(3);18.66.990(9); 11.41.410 through 11.41.450
2 Alaska Statute §§ 18.66.990(9); 11.41.410 through 11.41.427
3 Alaska Statute §§ 18.66.990(9); 11.41.434 through 11.41.440
4 Alaska Statute §§ 18.66.990(9); 11.41.450
What 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.1 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.2
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.3
1 Alaska Statute § 11.41.270(a)
2 Alaska Statute § 11.41.270(b)(1),(4)
3 Alaska Statute § 11.41.260(a) and (c)
What 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.1
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.2
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 one year.3
1 Alaska Statute § 18.65.855(b)
2 Alaska Statute § 18.65.855(a)
3 Alaska Statute § 18.65.850(b)
What protections can I get in a stalking or sexual assault protective order?
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;
- the offender to stop calling, contacting, or communicating with you (and your household members included in the order) directly or indirectly through a third party;
- 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
- any other relief that the judge thinks is necessary to protect you or a specific household member.1
1 Alaska Statute §§ 18.65.850(c); 18.65.855(a)
Where can I file for a stalking or sexual assault protective order?
You can file for a stalking or sexual assault protective order in the judicial district where you are living or temporarily staying, where the abuser lives, or where the abuse occurred.1
1 AK R RCP Rule 3(h)
If the abuser lives in a different state, can I still get an order against him/her?
When you and the abuser live in different states, the judge may not have “personal jurisdiction” (power) over an out-of-state abuser. This means that the court may not be able to grant an order against him/her.
There are a few ways that a court can have personal jurisdiction over an out-of-state abuser:
- The abuser has a substantial connection to your state. Perhaps the abuser regularly travels to your state to visit you, for business, to see extended family, or the abuser lived in your state and recently fled.
- One of the acts of abuse “happened” in your state. Perhaps the abuser sends you threatening texts or harassing phone calls from another state but you read the messages or answer the calls while you are in your state. The judge could decide that the abuse “happened” to you while you were in your state. It may also be possible that the abuser was in your state when s/he abused you s/he but has since left the state.
- If you file your petition and the abuser gets served with the court petition while s/he is in your state, this is another way for the court to get jurisdiction.
However, even if none of the above apply to your situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get an order. If you file, you may be granted an order on consent or the judge may find other circumstances that allow the order to be granted.
You can read more about personal jurisdiction in our Court System Basics - Personal Jurisdiction section.
Note: If the judge in your state refuses to issue an order, you can file for an order in the courthouse in the state where the abuser lives. However, remember that you will likely need to file the petition in person and attend various court dates, which could be difficult if the abuser’s state is far away.