What you need to know about Protection from Stalking Orders (PFS) in Kansas

Developed by Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

What is a Protection From Stalking Order and Who May Qualify?

A PFS order is a civil court order that is intended to protect victims of stalking.

You do not have to have a prior or current personal relationship with the person you want restrained, but you do have to prove that the person is stalking you. Often times, however, persons are stalked by a former or current intimate partner.

The Protection From Stalking Act (PFSA) contains three definitions that are important to consider if you want to file for a PFS order:

  • First, "stalking" is defined as the "intentional harassment of another person that places the other person in reasonable fear for that person's safety."
  • Second, "harassment" is a "knowing and intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose."
  • Finally, stalking must include a "course of conduct" on the part of the stalker, consisting of two or more separate acts over a period of time, however short, showing a “continuity of purpose” that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.

These three definitions should be read together when considering whether you qualify for a PFS order.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A PFS ORDER

  • You may get an application (called a petition) from the district court clerk?s office, your local domestic and sexual violence program or find them online at www.kscourts.org
  • At a minimum, the petition must include the following:
    • your name
    • the name of the stalker/defendant
    • the dates on which the stalking behavior occurred AND
    • the acts committed by the stalker/defendant that you believe to be stalking
  • You must swear to the content of the petition by signing the petition.
  • If you are a parent or an adult living with a child who is being stalked, you may apply for a PFS order on behalf of the minor.
  • If the petition is being brought on behalf of a minor, it must be filed in the county where the stalking occurred.
  • There is no court cost for filing a PFS petition.

When you file the petition, you may be asked to talk with the judge about why you think the temporary protection order is necessary. In somecourts, the clerk will present your petition to the judge and will let you know if a temporary order has been granted.

If the temporary order is granted, it will be good until the date of the final hearing. You will be given a date and time within 21 days for the final hearing. Even if you are not granted a temporary order, the court should still set a final hearing.

Remember, the temporary order is only good until the final hearing. You must appear at the final hearing if you want the judge to issue a final PFS order good for up to one year. If you do not want the order to continue, you should contact the court in writing well in advance or, better yet, appear at the hearing and ask to have the case dismissed.

At the final hearing, you will be asked to appear and provide evidence about why you need a PFS order. This evidence might include the dates and times that you were stalked, letters or notes that you received from the defendant, witnesses of the stalking behavior, how these behaviors made you feel or any other evidence showing you were intentionally harassed and placed in fear for your personal safety.

The defendant will be given notice of the final hearing. If the defendant attends the hearing, he will also be allowed to present evidence.

At the end of the final hearing the judge will decide whether to grant your request for a PFS Order.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN UNDER A PROTECTION FROM STALKING ORDER?

When you are granted a PFS order, the Court may order any or all of the following:

  1. That the stalker/defendant not follow, harass, telephone, contact or otherwise communicate with you.
  2. That the stalker/defendant not abuse, molest or interfere with your privacy rights.
  3. That the stalker/defendant not enter upon or in your residence or be in the immediate vicinity of your residence.
  4. Order any other acts deemed necessary by the court to protect you. If there is a special safety concern you have, the judge can address your concern under this provision.

HOW LONG DOES THE FINAL PFS ORDER LAST?

The judge may issue a final PFS order that is good for up to a year. If you want to have the order extended for another year, before the order expires you must file a motion (paperwork) with the court asking for the extension.

If the defendant has violated a protection order or committed a person felony crime against you or a member or your household, you may be able to ask for an extension of at least two years and up to the lifetime of the defendant by filing a motion (paperwork) with the court. This paperwork must be sworn to be true by signing it, a copy of the paperwork must be personally served on the defendant, and the defendant must be given the chance in court to present evidence and cross examine witnesses.

The clerk of the district court will have the forms you will need to file either of these motions.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER THINGS I SHOULD KNOW?

A Temporary PFS order may not be enforceable until the defendant is aware of the order, generally through being personally served by the local sheriff. If the defendant violates the temporary order before it is served, you can still call law enforcement. The law enforcement officer may not be able to arrest the defendant for violating an order he has not been served with, but law enforcement can still protect you. For instance, they may be able to serve the order or they may arrest the defendant for other illegal conduct.

Your PFS order is only a piece of paper. It will not protect you if your stalker should decide to physically attack you. Talk to your local domestic and sexual violence program about creating a safety plan for you and your child/ren.

An advocate may be available to help you with the filing of your PFS petition, accompany you to court, provide you with information about stalking, and help you with safety planning. Call your local program for assistance.

The Stalking Resource Center can also provide you with information on stalking.

The web address is www.ncvc.org/src/ or call 1-800-394-2255.

ARE YOU BEING STALKED?

  • If you believe you are in danger, consider what might be safe places for you to go, such as police stations, residences unknown to the stalker, domestic violence shelters, churches, or public areas where the stalker might be less inclined to make a disturbance. Call 911.
  • Document the stalking, including times, dates, locations, witnesses, and photos.
  • Keep a list of important telephone numbers readily available.
  • Formulate a safety plan, including keeping extra necessities at another location and contacting critical people about the stalking.

KEEPING A STALKING INCIDENT LOG

Maintaining a complete record of any stalking behavior the defendant (or a third party on the defendant’s behalf) engages in can aid a victim in seeking a PFS. Since stalking is considered a course of conduct, being able to establish multiple instances is crucial. Providing specific information on these instances can help the court in determining the plaintiff’s credibility as well as whether a protection order is appropriate. The following information should be kept in your log:

  • Date of incident
  • Times and places the incident occurred
  • Description of the incident
  • Any witnesses to the incident
  • Police report number and responding officer (if applicable)
  • Some detail about the day which could be later corroborated such as the weather

The information in this brochure is a summary of the Protection From Stalking Act. For more information on this law or for legal advice, you should seek the assistance of an attorney.

IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 911!

 

For Support, contact:
The sexual and domestic violence program nearest you
or
Kansas Statewide Hotline:
1-888-END-ABUSE (1-888-363-2287)
or
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)
TTY 1-800-787-3224

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR COPY OF THE PFS ORDER WITH YOU!

YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN DESERVE TO BE SAFE.


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