SAFETY FOR STALKING VICTIMS
If you are dealing with a stalker, you are probably experiencing a wide range of emotions such as frustration, helplessness, fear, dread and despair. You may feel you have no control over your life, but you CAN take steps to protect yourself, limit a stalker’s access to you and help build your case with the law enforcement. Please speak to a victim advocate for an assessment of your situation before taking any steps to pursue legal action.
- If you are being stalked online or in person, tell the stalker once, and in no uncertain terms, that you do not wish to have contact with him/her. If you are doing this via email or text, be sure to save the communication as evidence. If the stalker contacts you again, DO NOT RESPOND.
- Document every phone call, text message, sighting, email, act of harassment or vandalism. The Stalking Resource Center offers a printable log here. Save all texts, email and voice mail from the stalker.
- Be sure to notify your employer if you are being harassed at work. They can take the necessary steps to help protect you, such as changing your parking assignment to one that is closer to the front door and/or having security walk you to and from your car. In the case of co-worker harassment, they can reprimand the offender or terminate his/her employment. In the case of an outsider, they can obtain a no-trespass order.
- Change your routine. Take a different route to work and home, if possible. Avoid the places you are known to visit.
- Do not answer calls from anonymous or private callers, or from numbers you do not recognize. Find out if your phone company offers a call trace feature and have it activated.
- Changing your phone number and email are often recommended, however, doing so can enrage the stalker. It is better to have him/her call than show up at your front door. Consider getting a second email and cell phone account for friends, family and any other important calls. Keep the original accounts open so that you’ll have a record of the stalkers communications.
- If the stalker learns your new phone number or email address, you may have a leak among those you have shared them with. It is also possible that he/she is using some form of technology to track you.
- If you feel you are being followed, make 4 consecutive right or left hand turns. If you find that you are being followed, lock all your doors and remain in the car. Drive to a police station and honk the horn. Ask an officer to escort you home.
- Check for a GPS (Global Positioning System in your car or on your phone. Secure your cell phone. Stalkers have used these to keep track of their victim’s movements.
- Tell your friends and family not to release information about you to anyone.
- Ask your friends, family, co-workers or your children’s school teachers or caregivers to inform you of any odd calls or visits.
Secure your home:
- If the stalker is someone who lived with you or had a key to your home, change the locks on all the doors. Make sure the locks on your windows are functional. If you can only afford one option, this would be the one to choose.
- Purchase a security system.
- Purchase motion detectors for the exterior of your home.
- Purchase hidden cameras.
- Keep a camera handy in case you spot your stalker lurking around your home.
Moving is always a good option. If you are able to do so, you want to be sure to limit the stalker’s access to you.
- Use a mail service that uses a physical street address for their customers. Use this address for everything, including credit applications and voter registrations. All deliveries should go to this address as well.
- DO NOT forward your mail with the post office. They will send a notification to your former address. Call everyone personally (creditors, utility companies, family and friends) and give them the new mailing address.
- If possible, have utilities placed in the name of someone you trust. If that isn’t an option, give a password to the company providing the service and make sure they know not to give out any information to anyone that doesn’t provide the password.
- Stalkers have stolen mail and broken into the homes of the victim’s relatives and friends. Keep this in mind when sending mail.
- Do not give any personal information to anyone asking for or trying to verify your information in person, online or over the phone.
Safety and your children:
- Notify your children’s day care provider or school of your situation. Provide them with pictures of the stalker and any protective orders or injunctions. Make sure they keep you informed and report any strange visits or contact by anyone.
- Be sure your children don’t give out any information to strangers that ask for family or personal information, in person, online or over the phone.
- Arm yourself with pepper-spray, self defense skills or some other form of protection you are comfortable with.
- Consider counseling for you and your children to help with the stress of your situation.
The domestic violence safety plan is also recommended if the stalker is a former partner or spouse.
If you feel you are being stalked, speak to a victim advocate who can help assess your situation and advise you on the best course of action. Contact a coalition in your state or any of these organizations that may apply to your situation:
The National Domestic Violence Helpline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)
You can also find more information about stalking at: