What is Stalking? While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is: a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking is criminal, traumatic, and dangerous, and is a crime in all 50 states including Washington, DC, tribal lands, and the military. The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) has a wealth of information for victims as well as advocates and law enforcement. Additionally, the National Network to End Domestic Violence has put together a survivor toolkit found at the link below.

Understanding Stalking (brochure): An estimated 6-7.5 million people are stalked in a one-year period in the United States.  Nearly 1 in 6 women and 1 in 17 men have experienced stalking victimization at some point in their lifetime. 2/3 of stalkers pursue their victims at least once per week, many daily, using more than one method. 78% of stalkers use more than one means of approach and weapons are used to harm or threaten victims in 1 out of 5 cases. (folleto en español)

Stalking Safety Strategies: Stalkers can be unpredictable and dangerous. Whether through in-person or through the use of technology, stalkers use a variety of strategies to invade the lives of their victims. Most stalkers use multiple tactics and can escalate their behavior(s) at any time. You have no control over the stalker’s behavior and are not responsible for what they do.  However, it can be useful to think of steps you might take to keep yourself and loved ones safe. This process is called safety planning.

Stalking Incident and Behavior Log: If you are a victim of stalking, it can be critical to maintain a log of stalking-related incidents and behavior, especially if you choose to engage with the criminal or civil justice systems. Recording this information will help to document the behavior for protection order applications, divorce and child custody cases, or criminal prosecution. It can also help preserve your memory of individual incidents about which you might later report or testify.

For more information or to talk through your situation, reach out to a Phoenix Project Advocate at 540-635-2302. Free, confidential, and language services provided for limited English proficient clients.