You have the right to be safe! Stalking is never your fault!
Every situation is different and every stalker is different; but, often, stalking leads to violence. Stalking can lead to injury and can even lead to death. It is vital to seek the advice of local victim specialists and/or law enforcement to devise a safety plan to address your specific circumstances. The following is not a guaranteed outline, but is practical information to reduce your risk of physical and/or emotional harm from your stalker.
- Install solid-core doors with dead bolts/chain locks. Change locks if all keys are not accounted for.
- Make sure the outside lighting is adequate. Motion sensing lights are effective. Trim back trees and bushes around home.
- Change phone number and keep it unlisted.
- Vary all travel routes with someone else. Walk/Jog with a partner. If not possible, let someone know where you are going, how you will get there, and when to expect you.
- Inform trusted neighbors, property manager, colleagues, friends, and family about the situation with a description or picture of the suspect and the vehicle.
- Try to stay in public areas if not in the house or at work. Yell "FIRE!" to get immediate attention and tell them to call 911.
- Avoid direct confrontation of the offender as stalking sometimes escalates into violence.
- As soon as possible, file a report with law enforcement and contact victim services, mental health professionals, and/or social services in order to receive additional assistance and referrals available in the community.
Safety on the Job
- Arrange to have someone screen your telephone calls, use caller ID or use an answering machine if possible.
- Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your transportation and wait until you are safely en route. Use a variety of routes to go home, if possible. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home.
Documentation of Stalking
- Report to the police of any illegal acts of stalking (such as stealing/destroying property, entering residence without permission, assault, etc.) The reports can be useful in future proceedings.
- Documentation of stalking should be saved and given to law enforcement, including photos of destroyed property/vandalism, photos of injuries inflicted by the perpetrator, answering machine messages saved on a tape, letters or notes, etc.
- Keep one notebook for logging every date, time and incidence of harassment/stalking including phone calls, hang ups, etc.
- Journal every incidence, including phone calls, messages on answering machine, caller ID, hang-ups, letters and notes, emails, gifts, photos, unwanted visits, destruction of property, etc. Documenting EVERYTHING can help your case, assist prosecution and help end the stalking!
A Stalking/Harassment Protection Order can be granted when there has been (or the threat of) physical violence or a pattern of stalking/harassment is shown. Once a judge grants a protection order, keep it on you at all times. (When you change your purse or wallet, that should be the first thing that goes in it.) Give a copy to a trusted neighbor, friend or family member. Call the police immediately if your stalker breaks the protection order. Try to think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police cannot respond right away.