WomensLaw serves and supports all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Legal Information: Tennessee

Restraining Orders

View all
November 27, 2023

What is the legal definition of stalking?

Stalking is when someone repeatedly harasses you and it reasonably makes you feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or bothered (“molested”). Harassment is when someone contacts you without your consent, in a way that reasonably causes you emotional distress. It includes actions such as:

  • following you or appearing within your sight;
  • approaching you or confronting you in a public place or on private property;
  • contacting you by phone, mail, or email, text messages, or any other type of electronic message sent using the Internet, web sites, or a social media platform;
  • showing up at your house or job, whether or not s/he comes inside;
  • entering or remaining on property that you own or lease or occupy; and
  • sending or placing an object on your property.1

The harassment must be part of a “course of conduct,” which is a pattern of conduct made up of two or more separate acts that are committed by the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties.1 It is also considered a “course of conduct” when the harasser puts an electronic tracking device on you or your property without your permission, even if this is only done once.2

Note: For the purposes of getting a protection order, you’re also considered a victim of stalking if anyone, regardless of your relationship with that person, has threatened to stalk you or put you in fear that s/he is going to stalk you.3

1 TN ST § 39-17-315(a)(1)(A), (a)(3)-(a)(5)
2 TN ST § 39-17-315(a)(1)(B), (a)(1)(C)
3 TN ST § 36-3-601(11)