Special Feature: Stalking

stalking images Stalking is defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

Stalking behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Making unwanted phone calls
  • Sending unsolicited or unwanted letters or emails
  • Following or spying on the victim
  • Showing up at places without a legitimate reason
  • Waiting at places for the victim
  • Leaving unwanted items, presents, or flowers
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth

While individually these acts may not be criminal, collectively and repetitively these behaviors may cause a victim to fear his or her safety or the safety of a family member.

Stalking is a crime in all 50 states and at the federal level, and it can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, location, or personal associations. The majority of stalking victims are women and most stalkers are men, but men can be victims, too.

Data from the Supplemental Victimization Survey conducted as part of the National Crime Victimization Survey showed that nine percent of victims were stalked by a stranger, and nearly 70% of all victims knew their offender in some capacity. Partner stalkers are more threatening toward their victims and are also more likely to follow through on the threats they make.

Please select a page from the box at the right under the heading ‘Stalking’ to learn more about this topic.