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Legal Information: South Carolina

Restraining Orders

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December 8, 2020

What are the legal definitions of "stalking" and "harassment?"

Harassment is a pattern of intentional, substantial, and unreasonable intrusions into your private life that serve no legitimate purpose and would cause a “reasonable person” to suffer mental or emotional distress. Harassment may include, but is not limited to:

1. following you;
2. verbal, written, or electronic contact that is initiated, maintained, or repeated and causes you mental distress;
3. visual or physical contact that takes place after you have told the person not to contact you or after you filed an incident report with the police;
4. staying around or doing surveillance of your home, workplace, school, or other place you regularly go; or
5. vandalism and property damage.1

Stalking is a pattern of words or conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and is intended to cause, and does reasonably cause, you to fear that you or your family member will be:

1. killed;
2. assaulted;
3. injured;
4. criminally sexually abused;
5. kidnapped; or
6. subjected to property damage.2

Note: A “pattern” means two or more acts; “family member” means your spouse, child, parent, sibling, or a person who regularly lives in the same household with you.3

1 S.C. Code § 16-3-1700(A), (B)
2 S.C. Code § 16-3-1700(C)
3 S.C. Code § 16-3-1700(D), (E)