The State of Oregon has several forms of legal protection for those who fall victim to physical abusers and harassers. In this three-part series of blogs we are detailing the major restraining orders available and who qualifies for them. Today, we will outline the Stalking Protective Order (SPO).
As always, this is not intended as specific legal advice for your situation. Give Pacific Cascade Family Law a call to discuss the legal protections available to you if you’re being abused or harassed as well as any other family law matters.
Stalking Protective Order (SPO)
In our previous blog we explained how the Family Abuse Protection Act, or FAPA, restraining order can be used to protect you from an abuser that is or was previously an intimate partner or family member. Alternately, a Stalking Protective Order can be used against anyone, whether they are a family member, a coworker, a friend, or a complete stranger.
Oregon defines stalking as two or more unwanted interactions that cause alarm or fear for your safety or the safety of any member of your immediate family or household. In these cases an SPO can legally bar the stalker from contact with you or your family members indefinitely. While an SPO can be used in concert with a FAPA restraining order, they have different requirements and must be applied for separately.
Unlike the FAPA restraining order, you do not have to demonstrate evidence of physical injury or sexual abuse (intended or otherwise) to be granted an SPO. However, you must demonstrate ALL of these three criteria:
- The stalker subjected you or your family member to two or more unwanted contacts
- You are reasonably alarmed by the contact
- The unwanted contact reasonably causes you to fear for your safety or the safety of a family member
“Unwanted contact” has a wide variety of definitions that include but aren’t limited to: following, coming into your sight or physical presence, repeatedly emailing or writing, damaging your home or property, or communicating with others with the intent of affecting your job or personal relationships.
An SPO has no expiration date without a judge’s order. As with the FAPA, you should always carry it with you to aid in its enforcement, but keep in mind that it is a piece of paper and you should always go to the police if there is an imminent threat to your safety. If you believe you or a member of your family needs a Stalking Protective Order or any other form of restraining order, contact Pacific Cascade Family Law to discuss your options and the specific steps you will need to take to be granted a restraining order.