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 serious and can escalate over time.
What are some red flags for stalking?
- Follow you and show up wherever you are
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, e-mails or texts
- Contact you incessantly even after you've asked them to stop
- Damage your home, car, or other property
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go
- Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets
- Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers
- Post information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth
- Do other actions that control, track, or frighten you
What can I do if someone is making me feel unsafe, is following me, or is harassing me?
1. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you are on campus, you can also call campus safety at 303.458.4122
2. Trust your instincts. Don't downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are. Take threats seriously.
3. Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support. Don't communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
4. Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Tell people how they can help you. For help developing a safety plan, you can call Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention, a confidential, on-campus resource at 303.458.4029
5. Keep evidence of the stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date, and place. Keep emails, text messages, phone messages, letters, or notes. Photograph any possessions the stalker damages and any injuries the stalker causes. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw.
6. Contact Safehouse Denver’s 24-hour information and crisis line 303.318.9989. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, weigh options such as seeking a protection order, and refer you to other services
7. Contact the police. Every state has stalking laws. The stalker may also have broken other laws by doing things like assaulting you or stealing or destroying your property. Consider getting a court order that tells the stalker to stay away from you. For help getting a court order, you can call Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention, a confidential, on-campus resource at 303.458.4029
8. Contact Campus Safety; they can provide you with interim measures. You can request escorts to and from class as well as other support services. If you are not in immediate danger but would like support, you can also reach out to these confidential resources, which means they cannot report the stalking unless you give them permission:
- Victim Advocacy & Violence Prevention, 303.458.4029 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office of Counseling and Personal Development, 303.458.3507
- University Ministry, 303.458.4153