Stalking

  • Most victims are stalked by someone they know.
  • Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.
  • This page provides information on stalking and available resources.

What is Stalking?

Stalking is any behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking behaviors may include repeated unwanted phone calls, unwanted gifts or letters, damage to a home, car, or property, monitoring phone calls or computer use and other actions that control, track, or frighten.

Most victims are stalked by someone they know.

Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.

Statistics

  • 6.6 million adults over the age of 18 are stalked each year in the United States.
  • 3 out of 4 stalking victims are stalked by someone they know.
  • 30% of stalking victims are stalked by a current or former intimate partner.
  • Adults aged 18-24 experience the highest rate of stalking.
  • 46% of stalking victims experience at least one unwanted contact per week.
  • 1 in 4 victims report being stalked through the use of some form of technology (such as e-mail).

Profile of a Stalker

  • Two-thirds of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week; many stalkers pursue their victim daily.
  • 78% of stalkers use more than one way of approaching their victim.
  • Weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 stalking cases.
  • Almost one-third of stalkers have stalked before.
  • Intimate partner stalkers’ behaviors escalate quickly.
  • Even when an intervention has been made (jail, protective order, etc.) 60% of stalkers will continue their behavior with the same or a new victim.

Are You Being Stalked?

A stalker may:

  • Follow you and show up wherever you are.
  • Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
  • Vandalize or destroy your personal property.
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
  • Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups and voicemails.
  • Send repeated text messages, email or instant message you, or harass you in chat rooms.
  • Send unwanted gifts, letters, or cards.
  • Spread false rumors about you.
  • Monitor your phone calls, text messages, or computer use.
  • Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
  • Use other actions that control, monitor, or frighten you.

If You Are a Victim of Stalking…

  • Work with your local shelter or victim services program to develop a safety plan.
  • Tell the stalker to leave you alone once and only once; do not negotiate.
  • Notify police.
  • Engage in no further communication with your stalker.
  • Keep a log of every stalking incident including the date, time, what happened, and the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
  • Carry a digital camera and/or voice recorder with you.
  • Be aware that your cell phone and computer may be monitored by your stalker.
  • Have your car searched for signs of tampering or a hidden GPS device.
  • Change your normal daily routine.
  • Screen all phone calls but keep in mind that caller ID can be falsified.
  • Get a post office box.
  • Save all text messages, voicemails, and emails from your stalker.
  • Tell your family, fiends, and neighbors that you are being stalked.
  • Know that if you stalker is an intimate partner, you may be eligible for a civil protection order under Idaho law.

The Use of Technology to Stalk

Many stalkers use technology to stalk their victim. Stalkers may monitor a victim’s cell phone, send text messages, access voicemails, monitor computer  usage, use a GPS device to track a victim, or use other forms of technology to pursue their victim.

Technology changes constantly and victims should use caution and become familiar with the safety features available with the technology that they use.

If You Are Being Stalked Through the Use of Technology

  • Tell the stalker “Leave me alone, stop harassing me. Do not contact me again.” If you are in instant message or chat, log off immediately.
  • Do not reply to anything else the stalker says. Do not reply to emails, taunts, or lies said about you by your stalker.
  • If the stalker has had access to your computer, go to an internet cafe, public library or a trusted friend’s house to use a computer. Spyware software or keystroke login hardware may be been installed onto the computer without your knowledge.
  • Change passwords to email accounts frequently. Make your new passwords complicated, using both letters and numbers. Never give your passwords to anyone. Be aware that if your stalker is monitoring your computer or cell phone use, simply changing a password may not prohibit the stalker from continuing to monitor you.
  • Never give out your primary email address to anyone you don’t know.
  • Choose a free email service where you don’t have to provide your name or address.
  • Do an internet search on your name to make sure none of your personal information is posted by others. If you find information posted about you, notify the site’s webmaster immediately and request that the information be removed.
  • Don’t give out your online identification except to VERY trusted friends and tell then not to give it to anyone else.
  • If someone makes threats in a chat room or on a message board, notify the moderator or webmaster immediately. Keep screen shots for evidence.
  • Make sure NONE of your online profiles contain any personally identifying information about you, such as age, sex, address, phone number, schools attended, or where you work.
  • Document all communication from the stalker, including text messages, IM’s, social network posts and e-mails, voicemails, etc. Preserve these communications in case they are needed as evidence.

If You Are Being Stalked You Might…

  • Feel fear for what the stalker will do.
  • Feel hopeless, powerless, depressed, angry, or nervous.
  • Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because other people don’t understand why you are afraid.
  • Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories.
  • Feel vulnerable, unsafe, anxious, and not know who you can trust.
  • Feel stressed, including having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things.
  • Feel nervous, irritable, impatient, or “on edge.”
  • Feel that you have lost control of your life.

If You Have a Friend Who is Being Stalked

  • Listen. If someone says they are being stalked, believe them.
  • Do not blame your friend for the crime.
  • Show support.
  • Do not respond to the stalker in any way.
  • Advise your friend to document everything. You can also document any incidences of stalking that you witness.
  • Do not give any information out about your friend, no matter what the stalker may say.
  • Offer to accompany your friend to places so she/he does not have to be alone.
  • Refer your friend to a local shelter or victim service program.

Remember that every situation is different, and allow he person being stalked to make choices about how to handle it. Find someone you can talk to about the situation. Take steps to ensure your own safety.