Help for Victims
*PLEASE NOTE: The National Crime Victim Helpline is closed. We regret the inconvenience. Please refer to our victim assistance resources.
Things you can do
Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. There are no guarantees that what works for one person will work for another, yet you can take steps to increase your safety.
- If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
- Trust your instincts. Don't downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are.
- Take threats seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when a victim tries to leave or end the relationship.
- Contact a crisis hotline, victim services agency, or a domestic violence or rape crisis program. They can help you devise a safety plan, give you information about local laws, weigh options such as seeking a protection order, and refer you to other services.
- Develop a safety plan, including things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend or relative go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your home, work, school, or somewhere else. Tell people how they can help you. Click here to learn more about safety plans.
- Don't communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you.
- Keep evidence of the stalking. When the stalker follows you or contacts you, write down the time, date, and place. Keep emails, text messages, phone messages, letters, or notes. Photograph anything of yours the stalker damages and any injuries the stalker causes. Ask witnesses to write down what they saw. Click here to download a stalking incident and behavior log.
- Contact the police. Every state has stalking laws. The stalker may also have broken other laws by doing things like assaulting you or stealing or destroying your property.
- Consider getting a court order that tells the stalker to stay away from you.
- Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support.
- Tell security staff at your job or school. Ask them to help watch out for your safety.
If someone you know is being stalked
- Show support.
- Don't blame the victim for the crime.
- Remember that every situation is different, and allow the person being stalked to make choices about how to handle it.
- Find someone you can talk to about the situation.
- Take steps to ensure your own safety.
How to Start and Facilitate a Support Group for Victims of Stalking
A guide for victim service providers, volunteers, and other concerned community members on how to initiate and run a stalking support group in their agency or community. The guide includes information about designing a support group for stalking victims, recommendations for group membership, tips for facilitators, a sample curriculum, and much more.
Stalking Incident and Behavior Log (PDF | Word)
Victims are encouraged to keep a log of all stalking behaviors including e-mails and phone messages. The log, as well as any gifts or letters the stalker sends the victim, can be collected and used as evidence. The evidence will help prove what has been going on if the victim decides to report the stalking to the police or apply for a protective order.
Safety Plan Guidelines
A safety plan is a combination of suggestions, plans, and responses created to help victims reduce their risk of harm. It is a tool designed in response to the victim's specific situation that evaluates what the victim is currently experiencing, incorporates the pattern of previous behavior, and examines options that will positively impact the victim's safety.
Also See: Stalking Sacks
The Use of Technology to Stalk
Stalkers often use technology to assist them in stalking their victims. This section provides information about how different technologies can be used to stalk, measures victims can take to keep safe, laws and legal considerations, and resources.
Address Confidentiality Programs
Address Confidentiality Programs were created to protect victims of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault, and other crimes from offenders who use public records, such as voter or drivers' license registries, to locate them.
Stalking: A Handbook for Victims by Emily Spence-Diehl
This handbook provides stalking victims with the resources, choice options, safety tips, and stalker information designed to assist victims in regaining control over their lives. Also discussed are the building of criminal and civil cases against the stalker, the use of restraining orders, and victims' rights.