Illinois’ Numerous Anti-Stalking Laws

by Chicago Divorce Reporter

Illinois has numerous laws targeted at various types of stalking behavior, such as cyber-stalking, stalking, and aggravated stalking.

If you are a victim of stalking in Illinois, you might find protection in one of the below laws, or a combination thereof. A Chicago family law attorney may be able to help you navigate the system.

  • The Illinois anti-cyber stalking law: The Illinois Family Law Gazette previously explained this law in its post “Cyberstalking in Illnois: Old game, new rules.” Illinois cyberstalking statute can be found in Section 12-7.5 of the Criminal Code of 1961 (720 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/12-7.5). Put most simply, the cyberstalking statute essentially makes it a crime to use the Internet or other electronic means to harass someone. In that way, it is a fairly common-sense approach to changes in society. As you may have noted, the Illinois cyberstalking statute is part of the criminal code, so cyberstalking is a crime in Illinois. However, most likely your case would have to be a very severe one for the police or prosecutors to pursue it. Victims of cyberstalking could pursue an order of protect (aka restraining order) that could order the stalker to stop. Further, a stalking victim may be able to sue the stalker for emotional distress and an invasion of privacy.
  • Illinois Anti-Stalking Act and Anti-Aggravated Stalking Act: These laws can be found at 720 ILCS 5/12‑7.3 and 720 ILCS 5/12‑7.4, respectively. The essence of these laws is to criminalize behavior such as threatening a victim, causing a victim emotional distress, or placing a victim under surveillance on two or more occasions. The difference between stalking and “aggravated stalking” is that the stalker has causes bodily harm to the victim; confined or restrained the victim; or violated a temporary restraining order, an order of protection, a stalking no contact order, a civil no contact order, or an injunction prohibiting domestic violence as described in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986.
  • Order of Protection under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act: When a victim’s stalker is someone with whom he or she has been in a domestic relationship (such as a romantic relationship), the victim may seek an order of protection under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. Emergency orders of protection can be obtained in one day, and the stalker need not be present. However, after a statutory period, the victim may again appear in court and ask that the temporary emergency order of protection be extended.

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