Persistent threatening behaviour by one person against another. The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 creates two offences relating to stalking. If the harasser's behaviour makes the victim fear for his or her safety, the maximum penalty is two years' imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. When the behaviour does not lead to a fear of violence but does cause distress, the maximum penalty is six months in prison and/or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum. The behaviour must have taken place on more than one occasion and the prosecution must show that a reasonable person would realize that the behaviour would have the effect of causing the victim to fear violence or feel harassed (Kelly v DPP ( 2002 ) 166 JP 621). Both offences are immediately arrestable without a warrant, and the police have power to search the harasser's property. The courts may make a restraining order immediately after convicting a person of either of the two offences. In Scotland the common law has always provided protection against stalking through the offence of breach of the peace.
Stalking first attracted widespread public concern when a young actress named Rebecca Shaeffer, who was living in California, was shot to death by an obsessed fan who had stalked her for two years.
In general, stalking victims are women from all walks of life. Some are trying to end a relationship with a man, often one who has been abusive. The persons involved may be married or divorced or may have been sexual partners. In other cases the stalker and the victim may know one another casually or be associated in an informal or formal way. For example, they may have had one or two dates or talked briefly but were not sexual partners, or they may be coworkers or former coworkers. In a small number of situations, the stalker and the victim do not know one another. Cases involving celebrities and other public figures usually fall into this category.
At the federal level, a number of statutes have been enacted to protect victims of stalkers. These include the Full Faith and Protection provisions of the VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT (18 U.S.C.A. § 2265–2266 2000
), which mandate nationwide enforcement of orders of protection, including harassment and stalking, and the Interstate Stalking Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 2261A 1996
), which makes it a criminal offense to travel across state lines to stalk another person. The act also makes it a crime to stalk a person across state lines using mail, E-MAIL, or the INTERNET. Such crimes are punishable from five years to life in prison. Please remit to ::: Protection from Harassment Act 1997
SECTION 16-16-20. Computer crime offenses; penalties.
The State Of South Carolina.