Stalking Protections in Idaho

Being on the receiving end of unwanted intimidation, surveillance, or communication can affect every moment of the victim’s life. But how does the everyday understanding of stalking differ from federal and state legal definitions? How is stalking combated in rural communities? What protections exist for stalking victims?


Federal Stalking Definition

Given the federal government’s constitutional authority, 8 U.S.C. § 2261A focuses on interstate acts that have “the intent to kill, injure, harass, intimidate, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass, or intimidate another person.”  Such acts must: (1) cause “reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury” or (2) “causes, attempts to cause, or would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress.” This can include cyber-stalking, or stalking via electronic communication under 8 U.S.C. § 2261A(2).

18 U.S.C. § 2261 makes it a federal crime for a perpetrator of stalking to travel across state lines with the intent to stalk someone or to cause a victim to cross a state line by “force, coercion, duress, or fraud” due to stalking. Penalties vary for violations, as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 2261(b), however shall not be less than one year of imprisonment if combined with a violation of a protective order.

The Violence Against Women Act (”VAWA”) defines stalking as “engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.” 42 U.S.C. § 13925(30).

For more information on federal stalking laws, check out the Stalking Resource Center.

Idaho Stalking Definition

Under Idaho Code 18-7906, stalking is committed when a person knowingly and maliciously:

(a)  Engages in a course of conduct that seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the victim and is such as would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress; or

(b)  Engages in a course of conduct such as would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of death or physical injury, or in fear of the death or physical injury of a family or household member.

The stalking conduct must be nonconsensual, meaning “any contact with the victim that is initiated or continued without the victim’s consent, that is beyond the scope of the consent provided by the victim, or that is in disregard of the victim’s expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued.”

A non-exhaustive list of examples in the statute includes following, electronic surveillance, showing up at a workplace or residence, telephone contact, and unwanted gifts.

Stalking in Rural Areas

Currently, VAWA specifically provides funding to combat stalking under 42 U.S.C. § 13971. The funding is intended to “identify, assess, and appropriately respond to” victims of stalking. There is no age limit to who can be a stalking victim. The funding is also intended to “to establish and expand . . . victim services in rural communities” as well as “increase the safety and well-being of women and children in rural communities.”

Idaho Stalking Protections

As of July 1, 2016, Idaho now allows victims of stalking to seek a civil protection order. The applicable statute is Idaho Code 18-7907. Self-help forms are available at Notably, stalking protection orders are governed by the Idaho Rules of Civil Procedure, as opposed to the more lenient Idaho Rules of Family Law Procedure that domestic violence based civil protection orders receive. A civil protection order petition must be submitted within 90 days of the most recent stalking incident, however, acts of stalking prior to the 90 days can be used to establish a pattern of behavior by the alleged perpetrator.