Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
Stalking can include:
- Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.
- Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers.
- Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreation place.
- Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim’s children, relatives, friends, or pets.
- Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property.
- Harassing victim through the internet.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
- Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim’s garbage, following the victim, contacting victim’s friends, family work, or neighbors, etc.
What To Do If You Are Being Stalked
- Trust your instincts. Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm. Your safety is paramount.
- Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger. Explain why even some actions that seem harmless—like leaving you a gift—are causing you fear.
- Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker. Be sure to also document any police reports.
- Stalkers often use technology to contact their victims. Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.
- Get connected with a local victim advocate to talk through your options and discuss safety planning.
Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime www.victimsofcrime.org