Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others, or to experience substantial emotional distress.
“Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including but not limited to acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property.
“Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
“Reasonable person” means a person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.
Stalking includes “cyber-stalking,” a particular form of stalking in which a person uses electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, blogs, phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact.
Stalking may include, but is not limited to:
- Non-consensual communications (face to face, telephone, e-mail);
- Threatening or obscene gestures;
- Showing up outside the targeted individual’s classroom or workplace;
- Sending gifts (romantic, bizarre, sinister, or perverted); and/or
- Making threats.
Stalking can happen to anyone of any age, gender, race, ethnicity, size, strength, sexual orientation, religion and physical or mental ability. It also happens between ex-partners, friends, family, acquaintances or strangers. Stalking is an insidious and often hard-to-prove crime. It can make the victim feel “crazy” and confused. Complete this tracking form if you think you might be the victim of stalking.
What to Do if You’re Being Stalked
- Call 911 if you’re in immediate danger.
- Firmly, clearly tell your stalker that you do not appreciate the attention and you want it to stop. But only do this once. Multiple interactions with the stalker can reinforce their behavior.
- Keep a stalking log that includes incidents, behaviors, gifts or sightings involving the stalker. The more you can document, the easier filing a police report or requesting a restraining order will be. Ask your family, friends, co-workers, roommates and neighbors to keep a log as well.
- Trust your instincts and take threats seriously.
- Understand that stalking behavior can escalate over time and may not “just go away” unless you take action to stop it.
- Believe that you deserve to feel safe.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Tell your co-workers, neighbors, roommates, friends, family and anyone you interact with to not share your information or whereabouts with anyone without your permission.
- Be smart and safe with your technology. Stalkers can locate you through your phone or computer’s GPS technology. Visit The Use of Technology to Stalk to learn more about taking precautions.
Take Care of Yourself!
Create a strong support system of friends, family and co-workers. Stalking can cause emotional stress, exhaustion, disrupted sleeping or eating patterns. UConn has resources to help you.