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Kentucky

Local Resources

Stalking often occurs along with other crimes, like domestic violence and sexual assault. While there are no state coalitions for victims of stalking, many domestic violence and sexual assault programs are able to provide assistance. Many of the resources can be confusing to navigate, victim advocates are available to talk to you about address confidentiality and your states criminal and civil stalking laws. Victim advocates can also assist you with safety planning, keeping a log of stalking incidents, and how to be safe when using technology. Find services and/or an advocate in your county using the following links:

Address Confidentiality

Address confidentiality programs allow victims of stalking, sexual assault, domestic violence, or other types of crime to receive mail at a substitute address, which keeps their actual address private and prevents offenders from locating the victim through public records. Mail is sent to the legal substitute address, often a post office box, and then forwarded to the victim’s actual address. The substitute address can be provided whenever the victim’s address is required by a public agency.

Click here for more information on the Address Confidentiality Program in Kentucky.

Protection Orders

A protective order is a legal order issued by a state court that requires one person to stop harming and/or contacting another. Each state may have several types of protective orders: civil protective orders, criminal protective orders, or restraining orders, and they may have different names (for example, in Pennsylvania, there are “protection from abuse” orders). Some protective orders are specific to domestic and interfamilial violence, while others are broader, covering stalking, harassment, sexual assault, and other types of misconduct. An individual can get a protection order when the perpetrator is proven to have acted with intent to cause the victim emotional distress or fear for his/her safety, even when the perpetrator has not been charged or convicted. They permit the victim to call the police to have the abuser arrested if the abuser violates any part of the order.

Click here for more information on protection orders in Kentucky.

Criminal Stalking Laws

Criminal stalking laws define when a perpetrator may be charged with the crime of stalking, and what infractions are required to bring such a charge. The laws usually define various misdemeanor and felony offenses that correlate with the severity of the transgression. Based on police investigation, a state prosecutor will determine what charges to bring against an offender, and will then file charges against the perpetrator (formally known as an indictment). A trial typically follows, and the defendant may be offered a plea agreement. The criminal statute will also delineate potential punishments, if the perpetrator is convicted, which may include probation, house arrest, and incarceration, among others. Restitution may be requested and awarded to the victim by court order following a conviction, usually at a sentencing hearing.

Click here for more information on criminal stalking laws in Kentucky.

Civil Stalking Laws

Civil stalking laws allow victims of stalking to initiate a lawsuit to recover compensation from the perpetrator and any third party that may be responsible for the crime. In a civil lawsuit, there is no possibility of a criminal punishment; instead, the victim plaintiff is suing for actual harm (known as actual damages), punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs. Civil statutes also often provide for victims to obtain protective orders against the perpetrator.

Click here for more information on civil stalking laws in Kentucky.

National Resources

  • VictimConnect Resource Center - Confidential information, support and referrals for victims of crime via telephone, chat and text including safety planning and crime reporting.
  • WomensLaw.org - State-specific legal information related regarding protection orders, custody, divorce, state gun laws and more. WomensLaw.org also operates an email hotline where victims, their family/friends and advocates can write to ask legal questions.

Address Confidentiality

The Kentucky State Address Confidentiality Program assists crime victims who have relocated. Click here to find help with your application in your county. Click here to learn more about what the program in your state covers.

Contact Information

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Protection Orders

456.030. Petition for interpersonal protective order.

(1) A petition for an interpersonal protective order may be filed by:

(a) A victim of dating violence and abuse;

(b) A victim of stalking;

(c) A victim of sexual assault; or

(d) An adult on behalf of a victim who is a minor otherwise qualifying for relief under this subsection.

(2) The petition may be filed in the victim’s county of residence or a county where the victim has fled to escape dating violence and abuse, stalking, or sexual assault.

(3) The petition shall be verified and contain:

(a) The name, age, address, occupation, residence, and school or postsecondary institution of the petitioner;

(b) The name, age, address, occupation, residence, and school or postsecondary institution of the person or persons who have engaged in the alleged act or acts complained of in the petition;

(c) The facts and circumstances which constitute the basis for the petition; and

(d) The names, ages, and addresses of the petitioner’s minor children, if applicable.

 (4) The petition shall be filed on forms prescribed by the Administrative Office of the Courts and provided to the person seeking relief by the circuit clerk or by another individual authorized by the court to provide and verify petitions in emergency situations, such as law enforcement officers and Commonwealth’s or county attorneys.

(5) All petitions requested, completed, and signed by persons seeking protection under this chapter shall be accepted and filed with the court.

(6)

(a) Jurisdiction over petitions filed under this chapter shall be concurrent between the District Court and Circuit Court.

(b) The Court of Justice shall provide a protocol for twenty-four (24) hour access to interpersonal protective orders in each county with any protocol, whether statewide or local, being subject to Supreme Court review and approval of the initial protocol and any subsequent amendments. This protocol may allow for petitions to be filed in or transferred to a court other than those specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection.

(c) The Court of Justice may authorize by rule that petitions in a specific county be filed in accordance with a supplemental jurisdictional protocol adopted for that county. This protocol may provide for petitions to be filed in or transferred to a court other than those specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection.

(7) Any judge to whom a petition is referred under subsection (6) of this section shall have full authority to review and hear a petition and subsequently grant and enforce an interpersonal protective order.

(8) If the judge of a court in which there is a pending request for modification or enforcement of an existing order of protection is unavailable or unable to act within a reasonable time, the proceedings may be conducted by any judge of the county in accordance with court rules.

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Criminal Stalking Laws

KRS § 508.130. Definitions for KRS 508.130 to 508.150. (2009)
As used in KRS 508.130 to 508.150, unless the context requires otherwise:

(1)

(a) To "stalk" means to engage in an intentional course of conduct:

1. Directed at a specific person or persons;

2. Which seriously alarms, annoys, intimidates, or harasses the person or persons; and

3. Which serves no legitimate purpose.

(b) The course of conduct shall be that which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial mental distress.

(2) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of two (2) or more acts, evidencing a continuity of purpose. One (1) or more of these acts may include the use of any equipment, instrument, machine, or other device by which communication or information is transmitted, including computers, the Internet or other electronic network, cameras or other recording devices, telephones or other personal communications devices, scanners or other copying devices, and any device that enables the use of a transmitting device. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct." If the defendant claims that he was engaged in constitutionally protected activity, the court shall determine the validity of that claim as a matter of law and, if found valid, shall exclude that activity from evidence.

(3) "Protective order" means

(a) An emergency protective order or domestic violence order issued under KRS 403.715 to 403.785; (b) A foreign protective order, as defined in KRS 403.7521(1); (c) An order issued under KRS 431.064; (d) A restraining order issued in accordance with KRS 508.155; and (e) Any condition of a bond, conditional release, probation, parole, or pretrial diversion order designed to protect the victim from the offender.

KRS § 508.140. Stalking in the first degree. (2000)
(1) A person is guilty of stalking in the first degree,

(a) When he intentionally:
1. Stalks another person; and

2. Makes an explicit or implicit threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of:
a. Sexual contact as defined in KRS 510.010;

b. Serious physical injury; or

c. Death; and
(b)
  1. A protective order has been issued by the court to protect the same victim or victims and the defendant has been served with the summons or order or has been given actual notice; or

  2. A criminal complaint is currently pending with a court, law enforcement agency, or prosecutor by the same victim or victims and the defendant has been served with a summons or warrant or has been given actual notice; or

  3. The defendant has been convicted of or pled guilty within the previous five (5) years to a felony or to a Class A misdemeanor against the same victim or victims; or

  4. The act or acts were committed while the defendant had a deadly weapon on or about his person.
(2) Stalking in the first degree is a Class D felony.

KRS § 508.150. Stalking in the second degree. (1992)
(1) A person is guilty of stalking in the second degree when he intentionally:

(a) Stalks another person; and

(b) Makes an explicit or implicit threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of:
  1. Sexual contact as defined in KRS 510.010;

  2. Physical injury; or

  3. Death.
(2) Stalking in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

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Civil Stalking Laws

Kentucky Revised Stat. Ann. § 411.220. Action by Crime Stalking Victim Against Stalker Damages Statutes of Limitations. (2000)
A civil action may be maintained under this section against any person who commits the conduct prohibited under KRS 508.140 or 508.150. A civil action may be maintained under this section whether or not the individual who is alleged to have violated KRS 508.140 or 508.150 has been charged or convicted of the alleged crime. Liability under this section shall include the actual damages caused by the violation and may include punitive damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees. An action under this section shall be brought within two (2) years of the last act of conduct in violation of this section.

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