Tougher stalking laws proposed in Arkansas
A new bill in Arkansas could give stalking victims more power for protection.
The measure is heading through the house right now.
Victim advocates say the bill would make stalking behaviors more of a criminal offense and hold stalkers more liable in civil cases.
Anyone can become a victim of stalking, but research shows it's more common in relationships.
Domestic Violence Prevention of Texarkana Executive Director Connie Sloan says the current Arkansas Stalking Law does not criminalize the most common stalking behaviors, such as making phone calls, sending letters or gifts, and showing up at public places.
The bill also adds some language to the state's current definition of stalking, saying it would place a reasonable person under emotional distress and in fear for their safety or a third party's safety.
Sloan says stalking occurs in about 12% of all of the domestic violence cases that come through their agency.
Law enforcement statistics also shows stalking happens before most murders involving domestic violence.
If the measure passes, Sloan is hoping victim's will have a stronger voice in court and stalking can be stopped before it's too late.
The bill is expected to go before a House Judicary Committee tomorrow.
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