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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

New Illinois Law Includes Unwanted Social Media Messages As Stalking Behavior

Graphic by WNIJ

Unwanted social media messages are now on the list of behaviors that can be cited when petitioning to file for stalking “no-contact order.”

That’s one of the hundreds of new Illinois laws that went into effect in the new year.

Previously, phone calls, text messages and emails were included, but not messages from platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

“That’s happened on occasion in the last couple of years, where harassment via text (and social media) is something that brings concern to people and they contact us and we follow up on it," said DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott. "And I think any enhancement to the law that allow that to be considered solid evidence would be hopeful.”

He says that harassment on social media, as well as email and text, have gotten more common in the last couple of years. However, harassment on social media is not reported as often.
“Not as frequently as email or texting, but that has occurred. But email and texting are the predominant way," said Scott.
He said it’s the right move to count these unwanted messages as evidence.
The new law also allows schools, churches and businesses to petition to file stalking “no-contact” orders.