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, often violent, and can escalate over time.
How we can help
The YWCA provides
- a safe environment to explore your options
- referrals for individual counseling
- stalking kits
- assistance with other social service organizations, law enforcement officers, and the court system
- legal advocacy, including assistance in obtaining protection orders
- court support
- education about stalking
- information on other community resources
- help with crime victims compensation
- temporary shelter
- 24-hour hotline for crisis intervention, emotional support and information and referral
- all of our services are free and confidential
You should know that stalking is a crime and can be intrusive, harmful, and very dangerous. Stalking can occur during a relationship, after a relationship, or in the absence of a relationship. An effective response to stalking includes the entire community. Help is available to you.
Create a Stalking Incident and Behavior Log
If you are a victim of stalking, it can be critical to maintain a log of stalking-related incidents and behavior, especially if you choose to engage with the criminal or civil justice systems. Recording this information will help to document the behavior for protection order applications, divorce and child custody cases, or criminal prosecution. It can also help preserve your memory of individual incidents about which you might later report or testify. The stalking log should be used to record and document all stalking-related behavior, including harassing phone calls, text messages, letters, e-mail messages, acts of vandalism, and threats communicated through third parties. When reporting the incidents to law enforcement, always write down the officer’s name and badge number for your own records. Even if the officers do not make an arrest, you can ask them to make a written report and request a copy for your records.
Important note: Since this information could potentially be introduced as evidence or inadvertently shared with the stalker at a future time, do not include any information that you do not want the offender to see. Attach a photograph of the stalker, photocopies of restraining orders, police reports, and other relevant documents. Keep the log in a safe place and tell only someone you trust where you keep your log. Documenting stalking behavior can be a difficult and emotionally exhausting task. An advocate from the ywca can provide support, information about the options available to you, and assistance with safety planning.
Download a copy of a stalking and behavior log. Call us if you have any questions.