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Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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December 3, 2020

What is the legal definition of stalking in Washington?

For the purposes of getting a stalking protection order, the petitioner has to be a victim of “stalking conduct.”1 The law defines “stalking conduct” as any of the following:

  • Any act of stalking as defined under by law; or
  • Any course of conduct involving repeated or continuing contacts, including attempts to contact, monitor, track, keep you under observation, or follow you that:
    • would cause a reasonable person to feel intimidated, frightened, or threatened;
    • actually causes you to feel intimidated, frightened or threatened; and
    • The stalker knows or reasonably should know his/her conduct threatens, frightens, or intimidates you, even if the stalker did not intend to intimidate, frighten, or threaten you.

If the stalking-like behavior serves a lawful purpose, it cannot be considered stalking.2

Note: The judge cannot deny your order because you did not report the stalking to the police. Also, the judge cannot require you to show proof of the abuser’s intentions behind his/her actions in order to grant you a stalking protection order.3

1 R.C.W. § 7.92.040
2 R.C.W. § 7.92.020(3)
3 R.C.W. § 7.92.100(1)(b)