Victims of online sexual harassment would have an easier time obtaining restraining orders under legislation proposed Thursday by two state lawmakers in New York. 

The measure is meant to broadly curb harassing behavior online by expanding how restraining orders can be obtained without a person having an intimate relationship with their harasser. 

The bill, unveiled by state Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez, is meant to address the current arrangement in which a victim must go through family court in order to obtain the order. 

Lawmakers argue the current law does not take into account the various ways people can be sexually harassed over the internet. 

"It’s time to bring our sexual harassment protections into the 21st century,” Gounardes said. “In 2022, we must keep New Yorkers safe from harassment and stalking anywhere it occurs — and that includes online or after meeting someone on a dating app. No New Yorker should live in fear of being harassed or digitally stalked, and I’m eager to see this bill passed to ensure it is easier for victims of these crimes to seek the justice and protection they deserve.”

Harassers can operate anonymously and can deploy tools like "revenge porn" to further harassment and make it harder for victims to prove their relationship with the person. 

The measure would expand the jurisdiction of family court that would enable the granting of orders of protection under new situations. New crimes would be as well, such as predatory behavior patterns. Courts would also be able to order a harasser from ceasing contact with their victim. 

Lawmakers also want victims to be able to obtain orders of protection faster without having to undergo a police investigation and arraignment through criminal courts. 

"The issue of online sexual harassment is personal to me as it is to many — and I’ll keep fighting alongside community advocates, activists, and fellow survivors whose voices are critical in creating structures for real accountability and protection," Fernandez said.