What is Stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

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 a dangerous crime that affects 3.4 million adults in the United States each year.

Stalking can include:

  • Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email. 
  • Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers. 
  • Following or laying in wait for the victim at places such as home, school, work, or recreation place. 
  • Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim’s children, relatives, friends, or pets. 
  • Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property. 
  • Harassing victim through the internet.
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
  • Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim’s garbage, following the victim, contacting victim’s friends, family work, or neighbors, etc.

Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Victims of Crime


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