So what is stalking?
UCCS and the rest of the University of Colorado system prohibits stalking, and defines this crime as such:
Gender/sex-based stalking: Means directly or indirectly through another person, and based on actual or desired sexual or amorous relationships, repeatedly following, approaching, contacting, placing under surveillance or making any form of communication with another person, a member of that person's immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or; (b) suffer substantial emotional distress, including causing a person to respond by altering their activities. (University of Colorado, APS 5014)
Stalking is a serious crime that has affected millions of people in the United States, and if you are currently being stalked or have been in the past, know that you are not alone and that your stalkers behaviors are never your fault.
Though many people conceptualize a stalker as a mysterious figure unknown by the victim, this is often times not the case. According to the Stalking Resource Center, a project of the National Center for Victims of Crime, the majority of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know: 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner, 25% of female victims and 32% of male victims are stalked by an acquaintance.
What to do if you are being stalked
If you believe you are being stalked, it is important to seek out resources and consider reporting this crime. Visit the ROC Resources page to learn more about campus resources, or visit the UCCS Office of Institutional Equity page to learn more about reporting options.
Stalking Safety Planning
The content below is being shared with you from the Stalking Resource Center.
Several murders of stalking victims have highlighted the fact that people who stalk can be very dangerous. Stalkers can threaten, attack, sexually assault and even kill their victims. Unfortunately, there is no single psychological or behavioral profile that can predict what stalkers will do. Stalkers' behaviors can escalate, from more indirect ways of making contact (e.g. sending email or repeated phone calling) to more personal ways (delivering things to the victim's doorstep or showing up at their work).
Stalking Safety Plan - What is it?
A safety plan is a combination of suggestions, plans, and responses created to help victims reduce their risk of harm. It is a tool designed in response to the victim's specific situation that evaluates what the victim is currently experiencing, incorporates the pattern of previous behavior, and examines options that will positively impact the victim's safety. In a safety plan, the factors that are causing or contributing to the risk of harm to the victim and her/his loved ones are identified and interventions are developed.
Advocates and Stalking Safety Planning
While victims can make safety plans on their own, it is often helpful to enlist the assistance of trained professionals. These professionals, including advocates and law enforcement officers, can help a victim determine which options will best enhance their safety and will work to devise a safety plan to address each unique situation and circumstance. Victim advocates can be found in local domestic violence and rape crisis programs, as well as in victim assistance programs in local prosecutors' offices and in some law enforcement agencies.
Stalking Safety Plans - What to Include
When safety planning, victims can consider what is known about the stalker, the people who might help, how to improve safety in one's environment, and what to do in case of an emergency. The average stalking case lasts approximately two years, therefore safety planning must begin when the victim first identifies the stalking behavior and continue throughout the duration of the case. Safety plans need to be re-evaluated and updated continuously as the stalker's behavior, the victim's routines, and access to services and support changes.
Below are suggestions to consider when developing a stalking safety plan. This is not an exhaustive list. In a safety plan, any recommended strategy must focus on what the victim feels will work in her best interest at any given point in time.
Documentation of Stalking and Reporting to Police
Victims are encouraged to keep a log of all stalking behaviors including e-mails and phone messages. The log, as well as any gifts or letters the stalker sends the victim, can be collected and used as evidence. The evidence will help prove what has been going on if the victim decides to report the stalking to the police or apply for a protective order.
Rely on Trusted People
Many victims have found simple ways to make the stalking affect them less. They may ask someone else to pick up and sort their mail, get a second phone number given only to trusted people, or have people at work or school screen phone calls or inform the police if the stalker shows up. Relying on trusted friends and family is important for victims of stalking to help keep victims safer and also reduce the isolation and feelings of desperation that stalking victims may experience.
Technology Safety Planning
Stalkers use technology to assist them in stalking their victims in various ways. It is important to consider how victims may be harmed by stalkers' use of technology. Stalkers use the Internet to contact or post things about the victim on message board or discussion forums. They may also verbally attack or threaten victims in chat rooms. Some stalkers will post threatening or personal information about the victim - including the victim's full name and address. Often stalkers will e-mail the victim, or fill their in-box with spam and have been known to send viruses or other harmful programs to victims' computers. These threatening messages should be saved, especially if the victim is considering contacting the police with the case. If stalkers have access to a victim's computer, they can track them by looking at the history or websites visited on the computer. Also, stalkers have been known to install Spyware software on computers (sometimes sent through e-mail) that sends them a copy of every keystroke made, including passwords, websites visited, and e-mails sent. Spyware is very difficult to detect and a victim will likely not know she has it on her computer. If a victim believes s/he has a Spyware program on her/his computer, it is important the victim talk to a trained advocate.
Stalkers use cell phones enabled with Global Positioning System (GPS) to track victims. GPS technology can also be used to track or follow victims by placing them in the victim's car and will be able to tell everywhere the car travels. When safety planning with a victim about technology issues, ask a victim if her stalker has ever had access to her phone or computer. If so, it may be important to stop using the phone or computer, or only use it in a manner that will not give the stalker any information about the victim's location.
It is also important for victims of stalking to remain diligent about protecting their personal information that could be saved in databases. Businesses, for example, collect personal information about people, including addresses, phone numbers, last names, etc. This information can sometimes be accessed and exploited by stalkers. One stalking victim's ex-boyfriend learned of her new address by "innocently" inquiring at the local oil change station if she had recently brought in their car for an oil change. Because that business had her information stored, they gave the stalker the address the victim had wanted to keep unknown to the stalker. Victims are encouraged to consider who might have their personal information. They should instruct businesses to not give out any personal information. In many instances, victims can ask that their account be password protected. This password should be one only known to the victim and no information should be released or discussed until the password has been verified.
Although no safety plan guarantees safety, such plans are valuable and important tools to keep victims safer, document incidents that happen with the perpetrator, make surroundings more secure, and identify people who can help.
Stalking Safety Tips
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Copyright - 2009 by the National Center for Victims of Crime. This information may be freely distributed, provided that it is distributed free of charge, in its entirety and includes this copyright notice.