Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking is a pattern of behavior- unlike other crimes which involve a single incident. Oftentimes, it is made up of individual acts that could, by themselves, seem harmless but when taken in the context of stalking- could constitute criminal acts.
Examples of Stalking include but are not limited to:
- Someone repeatedly calls your phone, including hang-ups
- Someone follows you, and/or shows up wherever you are
- Sends unwanted gifts, letters, texts, emails, etc.
- Someone damages your home, care, or other property
- Someone monitors your phone or computer use (spyware)
- Someone uses technology to track where you go (hidden cameras or GPS)
- Someone drives by or lingers near your home, school, work
- Someone threatens to hurt you, your family, pets, friends, etc.
- Performs other actions that aim to control, track or frighten you
- Use of other people to try and communicate through children, family, friends
What can I do?
- Call 911 for immediate assistance. Trust your instincts and call for help if you feel you are in any danger.
- Alert Others. Tell trusted friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and/or HR department to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and so they don’t give out information to someone mistakenly.
- Document Every Incident. Make a log of encounters with the stalker, hang-up calls, and public sightings. Save all messages, emails, and your call history.
- End All Contact. Sometimes this is easier said than done but try not to answer calls or messages even if you are requesting that they STOP. Any contact, even in the slightest, may encourage the stalker to continue their behavior.
- Take Threats Seriously. A direct threat against you is an obvious sign of danger. A stalker can also use threats of suicide or self-harm to manipulate you into staying in contact or in a dangerous situation.
- Connect with an Advocate- A CVAC Advocate can help explain local stalking laws, help file for an order of protection and help you develop a safety plan.
- Prepare Your Children. Teach your children what to do if there is an emergency, like where to hide if there is danger in the house or how to call the police or another trusted person for help.