As a stalking victim, one of
the most important things for you to remember is you neither wanted this, asked for it,
nor do you deserve this.
Listed below are basic steps that you can
follow, to help ensure your safety, but it does entail changing your normal day to day
routines and your way of life, as you once knew it. You have no choice at this point. The
stalker won't change so it's up to you. Is it fair? NO, but it's your safety and your life
that we're talking about, so you are the one who has to make the change.
Anti-stalking experts say there is no
single course of action that will end the harassment or stalking, or the possible danger
to a victim. Following are basic safety tips from stalking victims, prosecutors,
anti-stalking organizations and police.
First and foremost,
have no contact with your stalker.
As a stalking victim, you're frustrated,
you're angry, and you're in fear for your life. How often have you wanted to scream into
the phone after receiving a harassing call or confront the stalker and demand that he
leave you alone? You may want a friend or relative to tell the stalker to stop bothering
you. DON'T DO IT. The stalker feeds on your attention and anyone close to you. He/she
doesn't hear you screaming "leave me alone." If you do this, the stalker knows
you're once again paying attention to him/her, whether it's direct contact with you or
through a third party. That's what a stalker wants - attention, and that can be dangerous.
Only police should contact or confront the stalker.
Safety Tips At Home
Tell your family, friends and neighbors
that you are being stalked.
Show them a picture of the stalker and tell them the make,
model and license number of the stalker's vehicle(s). Many victims have made up flyers to
leave with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. The more people watching, the more
people who can warn you about your stalker and, if necessary, testify against the stalker
in court. Many times neighbors have spotted stalkers around the victim's home while
they're away. If you have a restraining order, leave a copy with your neighbors in the
event they call the police during your absence.
If you live in an apartment complex, notify
the manager immediately.
Give the same information as above. In addition, if anyone
comes to your complex to inquire about you, request that they get a description and under
no circumstance give out any information about you. Have the manger request an ID from the
person. Request that they verify with you of any unexpected repairs or deliveries (i.e.
cable, TV repair, phone repair, appliances, etc.). Although all managers say that they
can't and won't give out any information, many do without realizing it. Stalkers can be
very charming, persuasive, and intimidating. Over and over stalkers have impersonated
repairman, delivery drivers, and law enforcement officers to gain access to victim's
Change your routine.
Don't jog, bike or walk the same route or at the same time
each day. Don't shop at the same stores. If possible, have someone join you on your
outings. Always remember that a daily routine makes it easy for the stalker to find and
Don't answer the phone unless you know who
Let the answering machine pick the call up. If an answering
machine is not an option, dial *69 (last call return service) or *57 (call trace). Never
return a call if you do not know who the number belongs to.
Install a second phone line in your home if possible. If
you don't have the finances available, keep the answering machine on.
One of the first things that an officer will advise you to
do is, "change your phone number and make sure it's unlisted." Many
stalking experts will tell you not to do this. Why? Any phone number listed or unlisted
can be accessed, in a relatively short period of time, if a person knows how.
Many victims reported that when they changed their phone
number the stalker became even more enraged. Some of the stalkers appeared at the victims
home in a desperate attempt to reach the victim. Some victims were assaulted outside their
home or office. Many of the stalkers bombarded the victims place of employment with
phone calls when they could no longer reach the victim at home by phone.
Under no circumstance open your door if you
do not know who it is.
Secure outside electrical and phone boxes
with a lock.
Don't make it easy for a stalker to flip circuit breakers
or tamper with phone lines.
Obtaining an Injunction Against Harassment
or an Order of Protection.
Another question you will often be asked by an officer is,
"Do you have a restraining order"? If you don't have one, the officer will
normally advise you to obtain one immediately. Although his/her advice is meant well,
there are things you must consider before filing for one. Such an order can and often
times will enrage a stalker. The restraining order is merely a piece of paper that
officers can use as a tool and it does not ensure your safety. However, there are
two very valid reasons to obtain one. The police are likely to take your calls more
seriously and charges can be filed. Don't ever assume that immediate action will be
If you have made the decision to obtain a restraining
order, be more cautious than ever after it is served on your stalker. He/she may
According to the Department of Justice, most stalkers (70%)
violate restraining orders. However, the stalker who violates such an order is subject to
arrest. If a warrant is not issued, the person can be charged with a misdemeanor (IJP -
Interfering With Judicial Proceedings). Many victims have been successful in racking up
multiple misdemeanor charges against their stalkers for violating the restraining order.
In Arizona an IJP is considered a class 1 misdemeanor and carries a six-month sentence if
the maximum sentence is imposed.
If you have obtained an Order Of Protection or an
Injunction Against Harassment keep a copy of it with you at all times along with
verification that the order has been served. In addition, give a copy to your friends,
family, neighbors, employers and even co-workers.
There are many pros and cons whether a restraining
order should be obtained or not. Each stalking case is unique and you are the only one
that can make the final decision to file for one.
Make sure all your keys are accounted for.
If they aren't, change your locks. Install deadbolt locks.
Make sure you have adequate lighting outside your home or apartment. Keep your doors
locked at all times and make sure your windows are secure.
Many police departments offer safety checks
for your home.
Contact your local police department for further
If you have a garage, utilize it for your
Keep in mind that a very common trait of a stalker is to
If you live in an apartment complex, speak with the manager
to arrange for you to park your car in a well lighted area or a more secure place where
your car can be observed by you or another person in the complex.
Before you exit your car, make sure no one has slipped in
your garage while you were parking your car.
If you have a door leading into your house from the garage,
make sure it is kept locked.
When leaving or arriving at your home
always check for unfamiliar cars or persons
If you have a "gut feeling" that something isn't
right, don't second guess the feeling - go with it.
Keep a cellular phone handy in the event
your phone line is cut.
Contact all of your utility companies and
have all of your accounts coded with a password.
Stalkers have been known to call and have phone service,
gas, electric, and water turned off at the victim's house simply by placing a call.
Periodically spot check the utility companies to make sure
they ask for your password before giving out any information to you.
Do not throw anything in your trash can
that contains any information with your name, address or phone number.
This should include bills, junk mail and personal
mail. It's very easy for a stalker to go through your trash cans and obtain all the
information he/she needs, not only on you but the businesses and/or people you correspond
with. Obtain a paper shredder if possible or dispose of the mail somewhere other
than your home or office trash.
Safety Tips To Follow In Your Car
Keep your doors locked at all times.
Keep your cell phone accessible at all
Always keep a minimum of a half tank of gas
in your car.
Change Your Routine
Don't drive the same route to work, to a friend's home or
to run errands. Try to plan your routes in advance. Let family, friends, or neighbors know
where you are going. Many victims estimate how long they will be gone running errands and
if they aren't back at a certain time family, friends or neighbors can alert police
Familiarize yourself with the location of
police stations, sub-stations, fire departments, hospitals, all night convenience stores,
in the event you need immediate assistance.
Watch your rear view mirror to see if
anyone is following you. Be alert at all times!
If you think someone is following you, make four lefts,
four rights, or whatever works for you. If the vehicle continues to follow you call 911 on
your cellular phone or go directly to a police station, sub-station, fire department, etc.
Remember the description of the car, any identifying marks on the car, a description of
the person driving and passengers if you can make them out and a license number if
When you're out, try not to travel alone, and
try to stay in public areas. Stay on roads that are well traveled.
Identifying papers in your car.
If you have mail, magazine subscriptions or papers in your
car that display your name or address, be sure to turn them face down, keep them in the
glove box or in the trunk. Don't make it easy for a stalker to walk up to your car
and get all the information they need to locate you or the person who sent you the mail.
Keep your keys in your hand, not in your purse
or pocket, when your going to or leaving your car.
Never leave your garage door opener in the
There have been several reports of stalkers
breaking into the victims car to obtain the garage door opener for easy access to the
victims home. Often times it is not discovered until the victim returns home only to
find the opener gone.
Safety Tips When You're In A Public
Keep your cell phone with you at all times
and make sure you have it programmed for 911.
When you arrive at your destination, be
aware of the activities in the parking lot. If you have an eerie feeling or you just don't
feel safe - go with your "gut feeling" and leave.
Upon entering the establishment, take a
good look around to familiarize yourself with who is around.
Be aware of where all exits are located and
whom you can turn to for help.
If you're in a restaurant or if you're at a
fast food chain, sit where you can see who is coming and going.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Before you return to your car, once again
check to see if anyone is following you. If you even think there is, go back inside and
ask someone to walk you to your car. Re-check the parking lot and areas around your car.
Once you're safely in your car - lock the door.
Remember - have those car keys in your
Safety Tips At Your Place Of
Even if you have moved, obtained an
unlisted phone number and traded cars, stalkers know they can find you at your place of
employment. This can pose a threat not only to you but also your company.
Inform your employer immediately that
you're being stalked and alert building security.
Many victims fail to do this out of embarrassment and fear
of losing their jobs. It's extremely important to notify your company not only for your
safety but the safety of co-workers. If your receptionist or security officer is not
notified, the stalker could very easily walk right in.
Again, be sure to give as many employees as
you can the description of your stalker, show his/her picture; give them a description of
the vehicle(s) he/she has access to. Let them be extra eyes for you and possible
Have someone screen your calls, visitors
and packages that you may receive at work.
If other employees receive calls from your
stalker, have them document just like you do, and add it to your documentation. Stress
upon them the importance of not getting into a confrontation with your stalker or trying
to reason with him/her.
If your stalker has threatened any
co-worker in person or on the phone, have them file a police report immediately. If they
feel it's harassment from the stalker, again have them file a report.
Change your schedule if possible. Starting
work as little as thirty minutes earlier or later can help. However, avoid a "set
routine". Speak with your supervisor. Many companies now offer flextime.
Avoid going to your car alone. Ask a
coworker or security person to walk with you.
Anytime your stalker is seen in the area,
document it. If you have a valid restraining order, file a report.
Above all, keep an open line of
communication with your manager and co-workers. Make sure management has a copy of
your Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment and verification that the order
Safety Tips If Children Are
If your children attend day care, make sure
the day care center or private sitter is made aware of the stalking and what to do if the
stalker were to make contact.
Leave the same information and copies of restraining orders
as you would with your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers.
The same applies to children attending elementary,
intermediate and high schools.
Know the whereabouts of your children at
Go over safety and emergency procedures
with your children, a representatiave of their school, and what to do if the stalker
appears or makes contact.
If you have any additional safety
tips that have worked for you or other people that you know please share them with us.
All correspondence is confidential.