Safety tips if you think you are being stalked

Suggestions on how to keep yourself safe if you are being stalked or harassed

Planning for your safety if you feel you are being stalked.

There are many ways to increase your level of safety, whether you are dealing with a stalking/harassment situation or ending an abusive relationship.

  • Call the police at 911 if you are in immediate danger. Tell the operator that you believe you are in danger and are afraid for your safety. Also tell the operator if you have any court orders of protection.
  • Don’t have conversations with a stalker, it only encourages him/her. A stalker’s offer to discuss his/her feelings or reasons for stalking can easily turn violent if he/she realizes you don’t want to have any contact. Stalkers are often unable to judge or control their own emotions.
  • Discuss protection planning with your children and any other family members or co-workers who may be at risk. Tell your children exactly who they can go to and who they can trust if they are in danger or need help.
  • Find a good counsellor or a trusted person to talk to. Being stalked can be very frightening and confusing. Talking about it can help keep you mentally healthy and emotionally strong.
  • Prepare and practice evacuating your home, in case it becomes necessary.
  • Program emergency numbers into all your phones, especially cellphones, or tape the numbers to all your phones.
  • Get a court order of protection (previously known as a restraining order) that states the stalker/offender cannot follow you, make contact with you, or otherwise continue the stalking behaviour. Call the police if the stalker continues to bother you once you have a court order.
  • Tell people you trust – family, friends, neighbours, your landlord, co-workers, your supervisor – about your situation. If possible, give these people a photo or description of the stalker, so they can tell you if they see him/her hanging around.
  • If you are being followed, even in traffic, get someone’s attention. Remain as calm as possible, but go where there are other people, such as a nearby business, and call 911 or the local police.
  • Change your daily routines and travel routes as much as possible. Leave for work at different times. Shop for groceries on different days and at different stores.
  • Develop a secret code with people you speak to regularly on the phone. You can use the code as a signal you’re in danger, without alerting the stalker. For example, “I crave blueberry ice cream” could be the signal that you are in danger and the person you’re talking to should contact police at once.
  • Keep a pen and paper with you and by the phone. Write down the times, dates and what was said during unwanted contact. Get the names and numbers of any witnesses.
  • If the caller is someone you don’t know, write down any identifying information (ex: male or female, young or older). Note any background noise that might be a clue about where the call is being made from.
  • Never throw out or destroy anything the stalker has sent you. Cards, e-mails, letters, flowers, gifts, etc. might be helpful as evidence if the police become involved.
  • Take pictures of any property damage or vandalism. Save the evidence and collect names of witnesses, but do not take any personal risks to get evidence in your case.
  • When you’re outdoors, stay in well-lit areas where other people are around. Avoid walking alone.
  • Keep your car doors locked at all times. Look in and around your vehicle before you get in it.
  • Trust your instincts; pay attention to your feelings of fear and respond to them by getting help immediately.
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