North Dakota has taken a significant stride in safeguarding survivors of stalking by introducing a much-needed update to its Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) statute. This change, in effect as of August 1, 2023, addresses the issue of stalking within abusive relationships.

Historically, DVPOs have required either a showing of actual physical violence or an imminent threat of domestic violence. While these orders, when granted, provide a sense of relief and safety to survivors, those experiencing stalking had little meaningful recourse. The Century Code now explicitly includes stalking as an allowable reason to grant a DVPO.

The updated DVPO statute prioritizes the specific concerns associated with stalking and recognizes its unique and often terrifying nature. But what is enough to be considered stalking under the law? Look to N.D.C.C. § 12.1-17-07.1(1)(c). 

  1. Stalking Definition: Stalking is when an individual completes at least two intentional acts directed at a specific person which frightens, intimidates, or harasses that person.
  2. GPS Tracking: Unauthorized tracking of a person’s movements or locations through a global positioning system or other electronic means is also considered stalking.
  3. Legal Standard: Fear, intimidation, or harassment is held to that of what a reasonable person would feel in that situation. The actions must serve no legitimate person.

These changes underscore North Dakota’s commitment to addressing the complexities of stalking as a form of abuse. They provide survivors with legal tools to protect themselves from this threat, signaling a hopeful path toward a safer future for those affected by stalking in the state.

If you or a loved one are experiencing stalking, please contact your local Domestic Violence program and ask for assistance. If you are looking for advice or direct representation regarding a DVPO case, contact LSND for more information.

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