16 Days of Gender Violence Awareness: Stalking Response Tips
As health ministers, it's not unusual for us to be approached by someone who is in need of help. It's important to know how to respond properly in the moment. Here are some tips from the Stalking Resource Center.
Did You Know?
Stalking is a dangerous crime that affects an estimated 6.6 million women and men each year. Stalking—generally
defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear—is
a crime under the laws of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the federal government.
Stalking can have devastating and long-lasting physical, emotional, and psychological effects on victims. The
prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than
in the general population. Victim advocates can help victims devise a safety plan, navigate the criminal justice system,
assert their rights as crime victims, and obtain the services and support they need and to which they are entitled.
What To Do If You Are Being Stalked
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. Your safety is paramount.
Call the police if you feel you are in any immediate danger. Explain why even some actions that seem harmless—like leaving you a gift—are causing you fear.
Keep a record or log of each contact with the stalker. Be sure to also document any police reports.
Stalkers often use technology to contact their victims. Save all e-mails, text messages, photos, and postings on social networking sites as evidence of the stalking behavior.
Get connected with a local victim advocate to talk through your options and discuss safety planning. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1–800–799–SAFE.
How Victim Advocates Can Help
Recognize that stalking is a pattern of conduct, and a stalking victim’s level of fear and need may vary and change based on the stalker’s behaviors.
Realize that stalking victims may maintain contact with their offenders to keep themselves (or loved ones) safe. Work with victims to establish safety plans.
Collaborate with others in your community, such as law enforcement, prosecutors, and community corrections, to help protect victims of stalking. Health care providers and members of faith communities also can be vital resources.
Work with law enforcement, prosecutors, and others to educate victims about the ongoing dynamics of stalking cases and what evidence and documentation may be required if they choose to report to the police.
Receive as much training as possible on this issue so you can be a leader and resource on stalking in your agency and community.
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