What is Stalking?

Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear for his/her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family.

Three Main Elements of Stalking

  1. Threatening behavior
  2. Intent or ability to carry out the threat(s)
  3. Involves course of conduct, involving two or more acts


Legal Definition

A person commits the offense of stalking if such person;

  1. Purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a course of conduct targeted at a specific person which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her personal safety or the safety of a member of that person’s immediate family and the person is actually placed in such fear;
  2. Purposely or knowingly engages in a course of conduct targeted at a specific individual, which the actor knows will place that individual in fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of a member of that individual’s immediate family; or
  3. After being served with, or otherwise provided notice of, a protective order that prohibits contact with a specific individual, purposely, knowingly, or recklessly engages in a single act of conduct that both violates the provisions of the order or notice.


Elements of Stalking

Purposely, Knowingly, or Recklessly

  1. Purposely: A person acts with the intention to do something
  2. Knowingly: A person is aware that his / her conduct will have a certain consequence
  3. Recklessly: A person, realizing there is a substantial risk that a certain act will have a consequence, consciously disregards that risk and commits the act

Course of Conduct: Two or more acts which show a continuity of purpose

Reasonable Person: An ordinary person in a similar situation

Placed in such fear: The victim is concerned for his / her physical safety


Typical Stalking Behaviors

  • Repeatedly calling
  • Waiting for victim outside/inside
  • Watching victim from afar
  • Following victim
  • Sending victim gifts
  • Sending letters, emails, texts, etc.
  • Showing up at work


Stalking Safety Tips

  • Give stalker 1 clear “stay away” message
  • Avoid all subsequent contact
  • Document and record incidents
  • Protect personal information
  • Stay in contact with law enforcement
  • Build a safety network
  • Vary daily routines
  • Make contingency plans for emergencies


Safety Anytime

  • If possible, have a phone nearby at all times
  • Treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and inform law enforcement immediately
  • Vary routines
  • Limit time spent alone
  • Get a new, unlisted phone number
  • Do not interact with the person stalking or harassing you
  • Consider obtaining a protective order against the stalker
  • Trust your instincts


Maintain a Stalking Log

If you are being stalked, maintain a detailed stalking log containing the following information:

  • Date of incident
  • Specific time
  • Location of incident
  • Description of incident
  • Witness/Witnesses
  • Evidence
  • Police/Other Response
  • Impact (Changes in behavior, feelings, etc.)

Example of a Stalking Log Entry

Date Time Location Description Witness Evidence Response Impact
5/10 9:30 pm 18 Sample St. Anytown, USA He parked outside my house. Blue Sedan plate # 333MMM John Smith (neighbor) 555-5555 20 Sample St. Anytown, USA I took a picture of his car Called police, Officer Jones asked him to leave Couldn’t sleep, afraid he would come back