Stalking & Cyberstalking
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Stalking & Cyberstalking
What is Stalking?
Stalking is the unwanted pursuit of another person, whether a stranger, acquaintance, or current or former intimate partner, and includes repeated harassing or threatening behavior toward that person. Stalking is a crime that can cause tremendous fear without physical injury, yet one that can also be lethal, and it is a very effective tactic used by domestic violence abusers to maintain power and control over their victims.
Since abusive partners often have extensive and intimate knowledge of their victims’ lives, including their routines, relationships, communities, and even their hopes and fears, abusers can readily stalk and exploit their victims.
What is Cyberstalking?
Cyberstalking means using technology to stalk someone. Cyberstalking does not require close physical proximity to a person, so a perpetrator can often remain anonymous or even enlist others in helping them stalk their victim.
For comprehensive resources on stalking, visit the Stalking Resource Center, a program of The National Center for Victims of Crime.
Impact on Victims
Stalking and cyberstalking can have a devastating impact on victims, including:
- Continuous, intense stress or anxiety; all-consuming fear
- Feelings of vulnerability, helplessness, guilt or self-blame
- Changing residences, jobs, phone numbers and other contact information, or even identity
- Feelings of anger and rage; depression; post-traumatic stress disorder
- Somatic responses, including nightmares, changes in sleeping habits, and eating disorders
If you or someone you know is being stalked
- Take it seriously.
- Talk to an advocate, law enforcement, or other professional that can help.
- Make a plan that will help keep you safe.
- Visit the Privacy & Technology section of our website, and take the proper precautions to protect your personal information.
- Maintain records of the stalker’s activities. You can find a printable stalking log below.
Maintaining a log of stalking-related incidents and behaviors is critical.
Recording this information will help you provide evidence that may be useful for protective order applications, divorce and child custody cases, or criminal prosecution. It can also help you remember individual incidents that you may later report or about which you may later testify.
Use the stalking log to record all stalking-related behavior, including harassing phone calls, text messages, letters, emails, acts of vandalism, and any harrassment communicated through third parties. Attach a photograph of the stalker and copies of restraining orders, police reports, and any other relevant documents to the log. (When reporting stalking incidents to law enforcement, always write down the officer’s name and badge number. Even if no arrest is made, you can still ask police to file a written report and request a copy for your records.)
Keep the log in a safe place, and tell someone you trust where it can be found in the event of an emergency.
Please Note: Your stalking log could potentially be introduced as evidence or inadvertently shared with your stalker at a future time. Do not include any personal information that you do not want the offender to see.
Documenting stalking behavior can be difficult and emotionally exhausting. Contact a local advocate for support, information, and assistance with safety planning.