If you think that you or someone you know is being stalked, we encourage you to follow the “STEPS” action plan created by stalking experts to engage in active and ongoing safety planning:
See it (and acknowledge it as stalking)
Do not minimize or downplay the level of risk involved with stalking behavior. Stalking can be a “red flag” for increased violence, psychological harm or life sabotage. Risk can be increased if the stalker has a mental health issue or illness. Risk also increases if the stalker’s behavior involves firearms or other dangerous weapons.
Plan ahead for your safety by thinking about the specific threats you may face and vulnerabilities you may have. Think ahead about what you can do in specific situations, particularly if the stalker shows up unexpectedly, so that you can be prepared. Practice things you might say or do to avoid or escape a dangerous situation. Ask people you trust to watch out for you and help you stay safe.
Document the stalking behaviors and preserve evidence. If law enforcement or the courts were to ever get involved, documenting the stalking can help highlight the pattern of behavior, and show that the behavior is deliberate and intentional. Whether or not you choose to petition for a Stalking Protection Order, documenting the stalking behavior is strongly recommended.
Learn more about Documenting Evidence below.
People who are being stalked must be active and ongoing in their safety planning, which can sometimes mean making changes in lifestyle, daily routines or living situation. It is important to be clear with the stalker that the harassment and stalking is unwanted. Document how the stalker was notified that their contact is not wanted and should stop. Law enforcement may be able to help communicate this request, or a stalking protection order may be a helpful protective measure. Then avoid contact with the stalker as much as possible.
It is really important to seek support. Telling trusted others like friends, family, teachers, employers and neighbors what is happening can provide emotional support and help with thinking through safety measures. Consider notifying law enforcement to see what kind of support and assistance they can offer.
Check out comprehensive safety planning information from the Stalking Resource Center
Documenting Stalking Incidents and Behavior
Whether or not you choose to petition for a Stalking Protection Order, documenting the stalking behavior is strongly recommended. Because stalking involves multiple incidents, it is important to document each incident of stalking behavior in as much detail as possible, including details such as date, time and location of each incident; what happened; vehicle and license plate information; witnesses; how the behavior affected you and changes you had to make in your life as a result. Tracking the Stalker tips and a stalking incident log can be helpful for detailing each incident.
Often stalking logs are helpful in making police reports and can become evidence in a stalking case. IT IS IMPORTANT not to include any new personal information that the stalker could learn in your stalking incident log. If the log were to become evidence in a criminal case, it would be made part of a public record and the stalker would likely be allowed to review the log as part of the discovery process. Do not record information you want to remain confidential.
TIPS for documenting stalking:
- Call the police to report each incident of stalking and/or violations of a protection order.
- Take a picture of each police incident report or the patrol officer’s card. This will be helpful for any follow-up police work that may be needed.
- Keep all text messages, emails and voicemail messages from the stalker. Do not delete this important electronic evidence!
- If you receive unwanted mail or gifts, save everything for possible follow-up and collection by law enforcement.
- If the stalking involved unwanted social media contact, do not immediately delete your accounts. Contact the police for assistance in collecting the evidence. You may want to take a screen shot of each contact.
- If you receive unwanted phone calls, document how many calls you receive and the time of the calls.
- If family members or friends are also being harassed or have witnessed stalking incidents, document the witnesses’ names and times of contact. Ask witnesses to document their version of the incident and consider giving their statement to law enforcement if necessary.
- If your property (car or home) are being vandalized/damaged, take pictures of the damaged property and call the police.
- Victim Connect Helpline 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846)
Stalking Resource Center
A Program of the National Center for Victims of Crime that promotes awarenees, action and advocacy to enhance victim safety and hold stalking offenders accountable. Comprehensive information available.
A website created by TK Logan which contains numerous resources for stalking victims.
A non-profit that helps victims and professionals take action and find effective strategies to address stalking and partner violence.
Stalking Victims Sanctuary
Helpful information and resources for stalking victims.
State & Federal Government Resources
Resources For Digital & Online Abuse
Technology Safety from National Network to End Domestic Violence
Comprehensive resources and information on the use of technology for agencies and survivors of stalking, trafficking, domestic and sexual violence. Includes toolkits and an App Safety Center
Comprehensive resources and information on how stalkers use technology and what to do about it
Crash Override Network
A crisis helpline, advocacy group and resource center for people who are experiencing online abuse
Stalking and Harassment Assessment and Risk Profile (SHARP)
A research-based online tool to help assess the “big picture” of a stalking situation, to educate about risks and offer safety suggestions. Created by TK Logan, Ph.D. Robert Walker, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., and Jeb Messer, B.A. (9/11/13).
Resources For Law Enforcement, Advocates, & Service Providers
Aequitas – The Prosecutor’s resource on violence against women
Responding to Stalking: A Guide for Prosecutors
Coalition Ending Gender-based Violence King County clearinghouse of agencies serving survivors of gender-based violence