Stalking and Domestic Violence
Fordham University is committed to maintaining a safe environment to study, work, and grow. Fordham University has a zero-tolerance policy relative to stalking and domestic violence. Those persons who violate this standard will be held strictly accountable for their actions.
Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that makes that person afraid or concerned for his or her safety. Stalking occurs by frightening, unwanted communication by any means, including by phone, mail or e-mail, or Internet social networks. Threats may be direct or indirect, and conduct may include following or writing to a victim.
The New York Stalking Law
The New York State Penal Law establishes the specific criminal offense of stalking and allows for the prosecution of persons who engage in an intentional course of threatening conduct. Courts can now impose severe penalties against persons found guilty of this crime. The description of the four offenses of stalking and the penalties that may be imposed by the court, upon conviction, are as follows:
• A person who repeatedly threatens the health, safety, or property of a person, or repeatedly contacts or follows a person after being clearly told not to do so has committed stalking in the fourth degree, a class B misdemeanor, which upon conviction could mean up to three months in jail.
• A person who engages in a course of conduct that intentionally places another person in fear of physical injury, death, or the commission of a sex offense, and any stalker who stalks three or more persons or has been previously convicted of stalking within 10 years has committed stalking in the third degree, a class A misdemeanor, which upon conviction could mean up to a year in jail.
• A person aged 21 or older who stalks a child under 14 years of age, and a person who, while displaying a weapon, engages in a course of conduct that intentionally places another person in fear of physical injury, death, or the commission of a sex offense, has committed stalking in the second degree, a class E felony, which upon conviction could mean up to four years in prison.
• A stalker who causes physical injury or commits another specified crime while stalking has committed stalking in the first degree, a class D felony, which upon conviction could mean up to seven years in prison.
For complete descriptions of these stalking offenses, please see NYS Penal Law Article 120.
Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior, usually involving an intimate relationship, that is used one by partner to gain or maintain control over another partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psycho-logical actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound the other partner. Domestic violence may include dating violence based on the type and frequency of interaction of the relationship. Victims of such violence can seek orders of protection from both the family and criminal courts.
New York’s Domestic Violence Law
• requires police to arrest batterers who violate “stay away” orders of protection or commit a felony or a misdemeanor against another household or family member.
• enables victims to bring their cases to family and criminal courts concurrently, instead of forcing victims to choose between them.
• requires violators face felony charges when harassing or threatening a victim during an order of protection violation.
• provides that, in the case of repeated violations, including threatening phone calls, faxes or e-mail messages, violators could face up to four years in prison (seven years if a victim suffers physical injury).
• maintains a statewide Orders of Protection Registry to aid police and courts when taking action.
• allows courts to give orders of protection, even when the offender does not reside in New York state, thus giving victims who live or work in New York protection.
• requires police to determine the primary physical aggressor, so that victims of domestic violence are not inappropriately arrested along with their abusers when more than one person alleges violence.
• ensures safety for victims of domestic violence by promoting more rigorous interstate enforcement of orders of protection.
Updated: August 23, 2012