The National Violence Against Women (NVAW) Survey, a landmark study that collected information about stalking, found that 8 percent of women and 2 percent of men surveyed have been stalked at some time during their lives. This means that one out-of-every 12 women, and one out-of-every 45 men have been stalked during their lives (1).
How Can You Help a Victim, or Yourself if You are a Victim?
- Provide support and validation because threatening and harassing behavior alone, without accompanying violence, are often minimized or discounted.
- Remind the victim to check out the applicable state anti-stalking statutes.
- Help the victim to develop a paper trail documenting evidence of stalking. Caller ID records, logs of phone calls, copies of threatening letters, or pictures of injuries or of the stalker sitting outside the home are examples of evidence that may help build a case.
- Inform law enforcement officials about the stalking and provide them with this evidence to support a case. If law enforcement officials refuse to conduct an investigation, consider contacting the prosecuting attorney’s office or a local victim assistance agency. A victim may be eligible to obtain a restraining or protective order.
- Remember, even restraining orders do not always prevent stalking from escalating into violence. Develop a safety plan. Inform friends, neighbors and co-workers about the situation. Show them a photo of the stalker.
- Consider, obtaining an unlisted phone number for private use, and set up an answering machine to receive calls to the published number.
- Have easy access to a reserve set of: money, credit cards, medication, important papers, keys, and other valuables in case you need to leave quickly. Have a safe place in mind where you can go in an emergency.
- Keep the phone numbers of assistance agencies easily accessible.
- Try not to travel alone and always vary your routes. Consider carrying a cellular phone with you.
(1) Tjaden, P., & Theonnes, N. (1998). Stalking in American: Findings from the national violence against women survey. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice. NCJ Report No. NCJ 169592.