Stalking and Anti-Stalking: How to Protect Yourself from Harm
What is Stalking?
Stalking is defined as a repetitive pattern of unwanted, harassing or threatening behavior that is committed by one person against another. Acts that could be considered stalking include: being physically followed, harassment via telephone, receiving unwanted gifts, and other similar forms of intrusive behavior. Definitions of stalking found in state anti-stalking statutes typically define stalking as “the willful, malicious, and repeated following and harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety”.
Cyberstalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk someone.
Cyberstalking has been defined as the use of information and communications technology, particularly the Internet, by an individual or group of individuals, to harass another individual, group of individuals, or organization.
Cyberstalking behavior includes false accusations, monitoring, the transmission of threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sexual purposes, and gathering information for harassment purposes.
The harassment must be such that a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress.
Research shows that men are typically the stalkers and the stalking is typically committed between people who know each other. Only one in four cases of stalking are committed by a stranger. Most stalking cases involve a former intimate partner.
Teaching internet safety for children online and other email etiquette guidelines.
Suggestions for Dealing With a Stalker
- Gather as much evidence as possible to document the behavior of the stalker
- Examples of such evidence include: phone records, copies of letters, pictures of injuries, statements from witnesses corroborating the behavior
- Familiarize yourself with the anti-stalking statutes in your state
- Notify local law enforcement and provide them with any evidence you have gathered to help support your claim
- Consider contacting an attorney to discuss obtaining a restraining order against the stalker
- Consider contacting a state agency that provides support to victims
- Develop a plan to keep yourself safe by informing your family members, friends, co-worker, and neighbors
- Have a safe place to go in case of emergency
- Consider changing your phone number to be unlisted to prevent future phone calls
- Program important emergency contact numbers into your cell phone or carry them with you
- Consider obtaining a personal protection device such as mace, pepper spray or a TASER® gun
Stalking / Anti-Stalking Websites
- Beware – Stalkers on the Loose – Article on stalking and cyberstalking
- LoveMeNot.com – The Los Angeles District Attorney’s proactive, informative ant-stalking program.
- National Center for Victims of Crimes – The National Center for Victims of Crime is the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims and those who serve them. Since its inception in 1985, the National Center has worked with grassroots organizations and criminal justice agencies throughout the United States serving millions of crime victims.
- SafetyWeb – SafetyWeb is a web-based internet monitoring service for parents that makes it easier to protect the reputation, privacy, and safety of kids online. SafetyWeb is also behind the SWOT service that is used by law enforcement nationwide to assist in the search of missing children. SafetyWeb provides parents with comprehensive online reports and parental alerts on their child’s social networking activity and cellphone calls and text message activity.
- Sex Offender Search – Make sure the person stalking you is not a sexual offender. Search the National Alert Registry to find sexual offenders in your neighborhood.
- Stalking Behavior – Stalking Behaviors, Definitions, Resources, and Links
- Stalking Victims – Anti-stalking resources and information.
- Stalking Resource Center – A program of the National Center for Victims of Crime, the Stalking Resource Center is committed to public education and implementation of multidisciplinary responses in local communities across the country.
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