Authored By: Atlanta Legal Aid Society Inc
Answers to Common Questions about Stalking
1. What is Stalking?
Stalking is a crime. Stalking is when someone follows, places under surveillance, or contacts another person at or about a place or places without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person, which places that person in reasonable fear for their safety or the safety of their immediate family. It does not require that a threat of death or bodily injury have been made.
2. Someone has been following me but I don't want to have him arrested is there anything else I can do?
Yes, you can ask the Superior Court in the county where the stalker lives for a Stalking Protective Order. O.C.G.A. § 16-5-94.
3. What is a Stalking Protective Order?
It is a civil order that orders your stalker to not have any type of contact with you and to refrain from harassing or interfering with you. You can also request that the stalker be ordered to receive psychological or psychiatric treatment.
4. How long is the Order in force?
The Ex Parte Orders are in force until the hearing or 30 days which ever comes first. The Twelve Month Order is in effect for twelve months and you may petition the Court by motion to extend the Twelve Month Order for three years or to make it permanent.
5. How do I get a Stalking Protective Order?
The Clerk of Superior Court in the county where the stalker resides should have the forms. Some courts have an office or staff member dedicated to handling petitions for family violence and stalking protective orders. You will need to complete the Petition and swear to the truth of the allegations in it. Next you take it to the Clerk of Superior Court (or TPO office) and they will direct you to the Judge. You will also need the Stalking Ex Parte Protective Order to take to the Judge along with the Petition. The Judge will read your Petition and may ask you some questions. The Judge may give you an Ex Parte Order, and set a hearing date for all the evidence from both parties to be heard. The Petition and Ex Parte Order will be sent to the Sheriff to be served on the stalker. At the hearing both sides can present evidence and both sides can ask each witness and the other party questions about the stalking. The Judge will then decide whether or not to issue a Twelve Month Stalking Protective Order.
6. I do not know where the stalker lives, can I still get a Protective Order?
Yes. You can get a Protective Order if you know of another place (work, school, place of recreation) where the he/she can be served. Give the sheriff's department as much information as possible so that they can serve him/her with the Petition and Order. If you do not know where the stalker lives or can be found, you may try to serve the petition by publication, however, you should consult with an attorney regarding the necessary documents and requirements for proceeding by publication.
For more information please contact the Atlanta Legal Aid Society or Georgia Legal Services Program office nearest you.
For Clayton, Cobb, Dekalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett Counties, call Atlanta Legal Aid Society: 404-524-5811
For all other counties, call Georgia Legal Services Program: 1-800-498-9469 (toll free)
For Seniors age 60 and older, call the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline: 1-888-257-9519 (toll free)