What to Do When Being Stalked

In Virginia, stalking is defined as conduct (on more than one occasion) which places a person, or his or her family or household member, in reasonable fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. 

Over seven and half million people are stalked in one year in the United States. Stalking is a unique crime, because stalkers are obsessed with controlling their victims’ actions and feelings. Stalkers will frequently threaten and harass, and in many instances will actually physically injure their victims. 

Stalking is a crime that can be committed against anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or geographic location. 

What to do if you are being stalked: 
      • Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger. Explain any action that seems harmless but     is causing you fear — like leaving you a gift 
    • Trust your instincts. Victims of stalking often feel pressured by friends or family to downplay the stalker’s     behavior, but stalking poses a real threat of harm. 
    • Take all threats seriously. 
    • Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker. Also, document any police reports. 
    • Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the     stalking behavior. 
    • Develop a safety plan to include things like changing your regular routine and having someone you     know and trust go places with you. 

Feeling like you are being stalked can have many side-effects including fear of leaving your home, depression, helplessness, and anxiety. Below are two potential resources to help. If you feel like you are being stalked, reach out and get help. 

Contact the toll-free Victim Connect Virginia HelpLine at 1-888-887-3418. Information is also available at www.dcjs.virginia.gov/victims. 

You can also contact the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime. Phone: 202-467-8700. Email: src@ncvc.org Web: www.victimsofcrime.org/src. 

Source: Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime.