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What is Stalking?

Stalking is a crime.

Anyone can be a victim of stalking. Stalking is defined as repeating behavior and/or conduct by a person that places another person in fear of her or his safety.  It may involve criminal acts and/or behavior that would be considered not criminal.  Non-criminal behavior could include sending letters, delivering unwanted gifts, or making phone calls to the victim.  These behaviors are considered stalking when the victim feels they are threatened and are fearful.

Stalking is purposely engaging in two or more acts targeted at a specific individual which causes that individual to fear for his/her safety. Victims may or may not know the stalker. Domestic and Sexual Violence can include stalking.

Common stalking behaviors include (but are not limited to)

  • Following, approaching, or confronting the targeted person.
  • Violations of any protective order
  • Appearing with no legitimate purpose at or around a place where a person can be found, including a residence, workplace or school
  • Following the victim on foot or in a vehicle
  • Causing damage to property
  • Placing an object on the person’s property either directly or through a third person
  • Vandalism or theft
  • Disabling the victim’s vehicle
  • Causing injury to the family pet
  • Acts of communication that are harassing to the individual e.g. telephone calls, letters, packages, electronic transmissions, sending gifts, etc.
  • Transferring the victim’s phone line to another line in order to monitor messages or planting listening devices in the victim’s home
  • Engaging in acts that would constitute stalking after being advised by a law enforcement officer that the person’s acts were in violation of the stalking statute

If you are being stalked…

  • Document everything (if it is safe to do so).  Write down dates, times, places, and witnesses’ names.  Write what the stalker is doing, saying, wearing, and vehicle information.
  • Save all written material, legal papers, and telephone messages. Collect all of these materials for evidence to add to your record of the stalking behavior (You should know, however, that it is a crime to tape-record any conversation between you and another individual unless they know the conversation is being recorded).
  • Tell family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  Describe the stalker to them and ask them to keep an eye out for the stalker and to document anything they see.  Discuss a safety plan for home, work, school, etc., and how they can be involved.
  • Contact law enforcement. Report all threats.  Give them a copy of your documentation and tell them of any previous actions you have tried to stop the stalking.
  • Create a safety plan. Some safety plans include:
    • Change your locks
    • Avoid walking alone
    • Be aware of your surroundings
    • Obtain a post office box and give your address and phone number to as few people as possible
    • Change your daily driving routes, and keep your car locked at all times
    • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas
    • If you are being followed go to a well-lit public place and seek help
    • Do not post information about yourself on websites or social media sites
  • File for a Stalking Protective Order. A protective order would make it a crime for the stalker to contact you in any manner or come within a certain radius of where you are, your home, work, or school.
  • Contact Starting Point. Starting Point can assist in developing a safety plan and/or obtaining a stalking protective order.
  • Taking care of yourself is essential to your well-being.  Dealing with stalking can be an emotionally and physically overwhelming situation.
    • Know that you have done nothing to provoke or cause the stalking behavior.  It isn’t your fault.
    • Join a support group.  Starting Point offers support groups throughout the year for survivors of domestic and sexual violence and stalking.  Call Starting Point’s office for further information.
    • Build a support system. Keep in touch with friends and family members who support you.  Ask for help when you need it.  Also, Starting Point is available 24/7 to offer emotional support and resources.
    • Engage in a therapeutic relationship.  You may begin to experience feelings of rage, terror, suspicion, an inability to trust anyone, depression, changes in sleeping or eating, exhaustion, or frequent crying spells.  Your body and mind may be reacting to the stress caused by the stalking.  Talking to someone who is trained to work with victims and survivors may help you to manage or stop some of these symptoms.
    • Take time to be creative. This can be done alone or with family and friends.  Take time to do something that you enjoy.