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Senate passes measure to further protect stalking victims

The full Senate has given unanimous approval to a measure that would further protect stalking victims.

Under current state law, if a victim is stalked by a stranger, they must first file a complaint with a law enforcement agency before they can file a protective order. Authored by Sen. Dave Rader, R-Tulsa, Senate Bill 1674 would remove this requirement and allow any stalking victim – whether they know their perpetrator or not – to file a protective order without prior documentation of stalking behavior.

“The law presently requires a stalking victim to first have to file a complaint with a law enforcement agency if they didn’t know their stalker. That requirement is an impediment and could enable this dangerous behavior to continue, and even escalate, before a protective order could be filed,” Rader said. “We can do a better job of protecting these victims, and this measure would cut through the red tape and allow them to go straight to the courts to receive a protective order against their aggressor before it’s too late.”

Under current law, if a person has a relationship with their stalker, they can go directly to the courts for a protective order. In Oklahoma, stalking is defined as a person repeatedly and maliciously following or harassing another in a manner that causes a person to feel frightened, threatened, intimidated, harassed, or molested. Stalking can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony offense in the state.

The measure now moves to the House of Representatives where Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow, will carry the measure.