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Additional Protections for Stalking and Cyberstalking Victims

Florida has passed a new law that provides for a new type of Injunction to protect those who have become victims of Stalking. This law, which becomes effective October of 2012 will allow for a person to request that a court enter an “Injunction for Protection Against Stalking” pursuant to Florida Statute §784.0485.

This type of Injunction includes “cyberstalking” and can be sought by any affected person, whether than person is an adult or a minor. Florida Statute §784.048 defines "Cyberstalking" as engaging in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose. If a minor seeks this type of an Injunction, they can either file it themselves or a parent or legal guardian may file it on their behalf.

Once a petition is filed, the court may either grant the petition temporarily until a hearing may be scheduled or set the matter for hearing at the earliest possible time. The hearing will include testimony and putting forth evidence to the court, if available. A skilled family law attorney can ensure one has their best possible case presented to the judge.

Interestingly enough, this statute falls under a criminal section of the Florida Statutes, although it is still considered to be a remedy that is civil in nature. There is a crime of Stalking in Florida as well, and if the behavior rises to this level then law enforcement should be notified and charges may be filed.

Last, if you have had a relationship or lived with the person who is stalking or cyberstalking you, you may still seek relief from stalking in the form of the existing “Injunction for Protection Against Domestic Violence” and “Injunction for Protection Against Repeat Violence.” If you find that you are a victim of this type of behavior at the hands of another, contact a skilled attorney to assist in ensuring the protective measure gets into place for you.

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