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The Domestic Violence Division

Stalking

Stalking is illegal. It is a behavior that threatens, controls, and is against the law. This document provides a basic explanation of what qualifies under the law as stalking. It also outlines how a victim can receive police assistance, court protection, and other help.
Stalking behavior varies. As do the motives. A stalker might be someone who follows a victim and makes angry and threatening remarks. A stalker might also be someone who is enamored with a victim.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Office takes stalking cases seriously, and we vigorously prosecute these offenders. We also provide stalking victims with the information and resources to help keep them safe.
For more information please call the Domestic Violence Division at 312 325-9220.

The Illinois Stalking Law

What should I do if I am being stalked?

Call the police immediately and make a police report. Tell them exactly what happened and give them the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of anyone who heard or saw the person threaten, follow, or watch you. If the elements of the crime of stalking appear to be present, the police will refer the case to the State's Attorney's Office for prosecution. If the elements of stalking are not present, the police will consider whether different charges might be brought. In any event, ask the police to make a report for future reference.

What are the elements of the crime?

The elements are (1) at least twice following or placing you under surveillance and (2) at any time threatening you with or placing you in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint.

If the elements are present, what will the State's Attorney's Office do?

You will be assisted by a trained victim/witness specialist and an Assistant State's Attorney will prosecute the stalker. If you qualify, the Assistant State's Attorney also will request an order or protection (OP) against the stalker.

What is an OP?

It is a court order prohibiting the stalker from physically abusing or interfering with your liberty. Violation of an OP can be a separate criminal offense that can be added to the stalking charges.

Do I qualify for an OP?

You qualify if the stalker is your spouse, ex-spouse, or anyone else to whom you are related by blood, marriage, or prior marriage. You also qualify if the abuser is someone with whom you have had a child, with whom you live or have lived, or with whom you have or have had a dating relationship. Orders of protection are available in same sex relationships as well as heterosexual relationships.

What if I don't qualify for an OP?

Regardless of whether you qualify for an OP, a judge will set either a cash bond or a recognizance bond in most cases. To be released, the stalker must agree to abide by all the bond conditions.

What sorts of bond conditions might the judge impose?

The defendant may be ordered to stay away from certain locations, such as your home, your workplace, or your children's school. The defendant usually will be ordered to surrender any firearms in his or her possession. If the defendant is a member of your family or household, he or she also usually will be ordered not to contact you or to enter your home for 72 hours.

What if the conditions are violated?

On the basis of a police investigation, the Assistant State's Attorney assigned to your case may ask the judge to modify or revoke the bond. Violation of the 72- hour provision is a separate crime that, like violation of an OP, may be added tot he stalking charges.

What are the penalties for stalking?

The penalty usually ranges from probation to three years in prison, but if the stalker physically harmed you, restrained you, or violated an OP or other court order, the penalty ranges up to five years in prison.

How can I get more information?

If you are a Chicago resident, direct questions about orders of protection to the State's Attorney's Domestic Violence Division at (312) 325-9220 and other questions to the State's Attorney's Victim/Witness Assistance Unit at 312 869-7200 or victim witness personnel at the closest suburban courthouse.

Informational Brochure - Stalking Law

Domestic Violence Division
555 W. Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60607
312.325-9220
Fax: 312.325.9270