Stalking is one person's obsessive behavior directed toward another person, behavior that causes the victim to fear for his/her safety. The stalker usually starts with annoying, obscene, or threatening phone calls or written communications within a short time after separation or divorce. The stalker may move from harassing communication to following the victim, and staking out workplaces and home. There may be acts of violence targeted at the victims's property, pets, and the victim herself/himself. But keep in mind that human behavior cannot be accurately predicted, so it is impossible to gauge when and if a stalker will become violent. However, remember that stalking is rooted in obsessive behavior, which in and of itself is dangerous. What should a stalking victim do?

  1. Do your best to safely avoid all contact with the stalker.
  2. Inform family, friends, and co-workers of what is going on regarding the stalking behavior.
  3. Report the stalking to the police and follow their advice.
  4. Keep a journal or log of all staking incidents.
  5. Keep all letters, packages, e-mail messages, facsimiles, and taped telephone messages received from the stalker.
  6. Contact an advocate or counselor.

Why do they stalk?

  • Seek affection
  • Rejection
  • Obsession
  • Power and control
  • Planning to commit a crime
  • Because they can

Impact on victims can include

  • Loss of Sleep
  • Nightmares
  • Changes in eating
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety; hypervigelance

The greatest risk for violence is when the stalker:

  • Issued direct threats of violence
  • Was jealous of relationships with others
  • Was a user of illegal drugs

Stalking behavior may include but are not limited to:

  • Unwanted phone calls
  • Spreading rumors
  • Following or spying
  • Unwanted letters or emails
  • Showing up at places unwanted
  • Waiting for a victim
  • Leaving unwanted presents