Victims of violence, threats of violence, stalking and victims subjected to a course of conduct that willfully places victims in fear of their own safety or the safety of others may be able to obtain a restraining order against their perpetrators. Additionally, restraining orders may be obtained for acts that are considered by a court to be a willful course of conduct directed at victims that seriously alarms, annoys or harasses those victims, that serve no legitimate purpose and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. Today, perpetrators abuse the Internet to carry out their harassment.
However, since obtaining a "stop harassment" or restraining order places burdens upon the accused that would infringe an accused's constitutional rights, for example the order might prevent the accused from being within a certain distance from the accuser or prevent the accused from exercising his or her right of free speech, there are strict procedural requirements that must be met prior to a court issuing an order. The burden of proof is higher in a restraining order hearing than most civil cases, which require merely a "preponderance of the evidence", i.e., tips the scales, and lesser than a criminal case which is the more familiar "beyond a reasonable doubt" . Restraining orders require proof by "clear and convincing evidence", which lies between the civil and criminal burden of proof.