Prevalence of stalking and Illinois’ legal response to stalking allegations
Recently, the United States Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics released a revised report on the prevalence of stalking in the United States, which can be found at https://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/svus_rev.pdf. Highlights of the report include that during a twelve-month period approximately 1.5 percent of persons aged 18 years or older were victims of stalking, nearly seven in ten of stalking victims knew their offender in some capacity and more women than men are stalking victims. Furthermore, the percentage of persons stalked diminishes as they age, with persons 18-19 and 20-24 years old experienced the highest amount of stalking.
In Illinois, such behavior is handled by the court system in both the criminal and civil arena. A persons experiencing stalking behavior may contact law enforcement, which may investigate the allegations and determine if charges will be brought. The relevant Illinois charges include Stalking, 720 ILCS 5/12-7.3; Aggravated Stalking, 720 ILCS 5/12-7.4, and Cyberstalking, 720 ILCS 5/12-7.5. All of the above-listed offenses are felonies, with enhanced penalties for second or subsequent convictions.
Previously, I have posted information regarding the statute governing Civil Stalking No Contact Orders, /2/category/civil%20stalking%20no%20contact%20orders/1.html. As I posted on September 14, 2011, the proceedings governing such hearings are similar to those governing civil domestic violence order of protection proceedings.
I have represented parties on all sides of this issue in both arenas. The allegations of stalking are serious, and should be, to all the parties involved. An experienced attorney is always an asset when confronting such situations.
Lori G. Levin
Attorney at Law
180 N. LaSalle, Suite 3700
Chicago, IL 60601