If you are being stalked:
- Notify Law Enforcement:
If you believe you are being stalked, call the police right away. Be sure to tell them about any previous action taken and the results (i.e. the stalker was warned to stay away from you). Consider obtaining a cellular phone. In the event that you are being followed while driving, you can call 9-1-1 immediately and document the incident as it is happening. It is important to get the docket or file number of your complaint, as well as the name of the reporting officer so that you can follow up on the complaint.Arrests can only be made if the stalker has already been warned by the police to stay away from you. If there is already a restraining order in place, the police must arrest the stalker. In the event of an arrest, the stalker will likely be bonded and released. Ask that a condition of the bond be no contact with you. Obtain copies of all documents and the name of the judge.You should also contact Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention. There is a law in the state of New Hampshire to make getting help safer for you. RSA 173-C states that information transmitted between a victim of sexual assault, domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual harassment and a crisis center advocate shall remain confidential. This information is never given out, unless Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention has received written permission from you. This means you can disclose any information about your situation and receive help and support without any of the conversation being revealed to a third party. Crisis center advocates are still required to report any knowledge of child abuse that you might disclose to them.
- Document Everything Yourself:
Record witnesses’ names, dates, times, locations, and what the stalker was doing, saying, wearing, driving (license plate no.), etc. If it can be done safely, take pictures of the stalker. Law enforcement agencies log your complaint each time you call. Request a copy of each report.
- Tell Family, Friends, Neighbors, and Co-workers:
Provide them with a description or photograph of the stalker. Ask them to watch for the stalker, to document everything listed above, and to give the written account to you.
- Save All Written Material, Legal Documents, and Telephone Messages Recorded on Answering Machines:
Save and date all cards, letters, notes, and envelopes from the stalker. Obtain and keep copies of warrants, protective orders, court orders, etc.
- Report threatening calls to the telephone company.
Make use of your telephone provider’s tracing system and Caller ID. Dial *57 immediately after receiving a harassing phone call, and the call will be traced for a small fee. Be sure to log the date and time of each successfully traced call. Save and date all telephone messages, because they too, can be utilized as evidence. Do NOT tape telephone conversations without telling the stalker he or she is being taped beforehand. It is illegal to tape someone without his/her knowledge, and renders such evidence useless.
If you think you are being followed from place to place, or if you are being threatened or intimidated by someone, it is important that you begin to take the necessary steps to maximize your safety.
- Utilize the law enforcement community and courts.
- Obtain a Protective Order. You can go to District or Superior Court and obtain a Stalking Protective Order against the stalker, even if there has never been any relationship between you and the stalker.
- Change the locks of your home and/or car. Avoid walking alone. Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Obtain a post office box – give your address and phone number to as few people as possible.
- Get an unlisted telephone number.
- Alternate daily driving routes and keep car doors locked at all times, even when the car is in use.
- Park in well-lit areas, obtain a locking gas cap, and always visually check the front and rear passenger areas before entering your vehicle.
- Know the locations of both the police and fire stations.
- Keep an emergency bag packed with clothing, money, emergency telephone numbers, toys for your children, etc.
- Report all threats sent by mail to the local police or the FBI.
- Alert neighbors about what is happening, and have a prearranged code or signal in case the stalker is near or at your home.
- Post a “No Trespassing” sign on the edge of your property where it is clearly visible.
Some victims of stalking may also choose to relocate. The following suggestions can be used to maximize your safety if you decide to move:
- Call the Social Security Office and request that your Social Security number be changed, if you can prove that the stalker is using it to find you.
- If you move, do not leave a “paper trail”. Don’t have anything forwarded (mail, newspapers, magazine subscriptions, telephone number, etc).
- Take all medical/immunization records (especially for your children) with you.
- Pick up or forfeit security deposit money.
Taking Care of Yourself.
Contact Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention: The Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention is a great resource, and can provide you with a number of confidential services, including 24-hour support and assistance. Call our 24 hour crisis lines at (603) 352-3782 or (603) 924-3600.
Develop a Support System: Keep in touch with friends who are supportive and understanding. Tell someone about each encounter with the stalker.
You May Experience Extreme Stress and Trauma and Want to Seek Assistance: You may begin to experience rage, terror, suspicions, an inability to trust anyone, depression, changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns, exhaustion, and/or frequent crying spells. Your body and mind are simply reacting to the extreme stress. Talking to someone who is trained to work with victims may help alleviate some of the symptoms that are interfering with other aspects of your life.
Remember, the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention is an important resource and can provide you with additional safety recommendations, support, and assistance in understanding the legal system.