Being the victim of stalking, sexual assault, or human trafficking is an unimaginable horror to most people. But to those who have experienced those horrors, there is perhaps nothing more unsettling than feeling like you have no control over the situation. In Kansas, our legislature has put in place laws to help give victims back some of that control.
The Protection from Stalking Act (K.S.A. 60-31a) allows individuals to petition the court for an order of restraint against their stalker or assailant. You can get protection for yourself, your minor child, a minor child who resides with you, or a minor child for whom you are the child’s court appointed legal custodian or legal guardian.
In order to file for a PFS, you must show that the stalking, sexual assault, or human trafficking happened against each person for whom protection is sought.
- For a Protection from Stalking order, you must show:
- At least two separate acts;
- Directed at a specific person;
- Intentionally done;
- Showing a continuity of purpose that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress;
- Placing that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety;
- Through conduct that seriously alarmed, annoyed, tormented, or terrorized the person; and
- That served no legitimate purpose and was not constitutionally protected.
- For a Protection from Sexual Assault order, you must show:
- One non-consensual sexual act; or
- One attempted sexual act against another by force, threat of force, duress or when the person is capable of giving consent
- For a Protection from Human Trafficking order, you must show:
- One act that would constitute human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation of a child, or an act, that if committed by an adult, would constitute selling sexual relations (all defined by specific provisions of chapter 21 of the K.S.A.)
These orders can be sought while a criminal investigation or prosecution is pending or even in cases where no criminal prosecution is going to be brought by the District Attorney. They can also be put in place during a divorce or contentious family law case for the protection of yourself and your family. And while these cases can sometimes take weeks or even months to resolve, in some cases a person is able to get temporary or emergency orders in place, providing some protection and security while the case is still ongoing.
Kansas makes the process of filing for a PFS simple enough. All of the necessary documents, forms, and instructions are provided on the Kansas Judicial Council website. You can also contact the Johnson County District Court for assistance in completing and filing these forms. But there is a big difference between filing the case and getting temporary orders versus getting a judge to enter final orders following a trial. That’s why it is generally best to have an attorney in your corner who knows the rules, procedures, and policies of the court. If you want to be represented at the final PFS trial, it is imperative that you call an attorney right away. If you have any questions during this process, you can call our office any time.