New California law increased restraining order period for stalkers 

A new state law has lengthened the duration of restraining orders against suspected stalkers from three years to five.

AB 499, which was inspired by the San Francisco District Attorney's Office and authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, also claims to simplify the process through which victims can obtain a restraining order against someone.

The legislation, which was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Aug. 27, goes into effect July 1.

Ting's office called the law a "strong new tool to protect stalking victims."

The act of reapplying for a restraining order after three years rekindles stalking behavior from the offender, Ting's office said in a statement. The hope is that extending the length of time will allow victims more time to distance themselves from their stalkers.

"For 11 percent of victims, stalking lasts for five years or more," Ting said.

District Attorney George Gascón, Ting, and representatives of law enforcement and domestic violence victims' groups are scheduled to attend a news event on the matter Wednesday at the Earl Warren State Building in the Civic Center area.

"Our laws should never discourage a victim from taking measures that will protect them from a stalker," Gascón said. "What they are going through is difficult enough. I'm proud to have sponsored this effort, and to bring relief to victims of stalking."

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