Definitions of stalking can vary in different jurisdictions, but a good working definition is "a course of conduct directed at a specific person involving repeated visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communications, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear". (National Institute of Justice)

Like domestic abuse, stalking is a crime about power and control.  One in eight women will be the victim of stalking in her lifetime.  Over 85% of stalking victims are stalked by someone that they know.  No two stalking situations are the same, and there are no guarantees that what works for one victim is right for another, but there are some general safety tips to consider if you are being stalked.

  • The moment you feel that this person's behavior is inappropriate or bothersome, tell them clearly and firmly that you want no further contact from them.  While the person may not respect your wishes, you can relay to law enforcement that the person knows the attention is unwanted.

  • Avoid all further contact with the person.  If they call you fifteen times and you ignore it, then answer on the sixteenth time to tell them to leave you alone, you've just taught him that he needs to call you sixteen times and then you'll talk to him.  Never communicate with the stalker in person, on the telephone, in writing, or by e-mail.  Any attention from you will be viewed by the stalker as encouragement.

  • Keep a log of all incidents.  Click HERE for a printable stalking incident log.

  • Save all evidence.  Whether it's letters, text messages, presents, e-mails - save it all.  This, along with your stalking incident log, will help the police build a solid case.

  • Notify your friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors that you are being stalked.  This can be incredibly awkward and embarrassing for victims, but your safety should always outweigh other concerns.  The more people you have watching out for you, the safer you will be.  If you have children, make sure they're being escorted to and from school, and make sure school officials know what is going on.

  • Contact your local victim assistance center for assistance in putting together a safety plan specific to your situation.