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Legal Information: District of Columbia

Statutes: District of Columbia

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April 5, 2024

§ 22-3131. Legislative intent.

(a) The Council finds that stalking is a serious problem in this city and nationwide. Stalking involves severe intrusions on the victim’s personal privacy and autonomy. It is a crime that can have a long-lasting impact on the victim’s quality of life, and creates risks to the security and safety of the victim and others, even in the absence of express threats of physical harm. Stalking conduct often becomes increasingly violent over time. The Council recognizes the dangerous nature of stalking as well as the strong connections between stalking and domestic violence and between stalking and sexual assault. Therefore, the Council enacts this law to encourage effective intervention by the criminal justice system before stalking escalates into behavior that has even more serious or lethal consequences.

(b) The Council enacts this stalking statute to permit the criminal justice system to hold stalkers accountable for a wide range of acts, communications, and conduct. The Council recognizes that stalking includes a pattern of following or monitoring the victim, or committing violent or intimidating acts against the victim, regardless of the means.