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Dating abuse hotline: 866-331-9474

What is stalking? Stalking is harassing or threatening behaviors that an individual engages in repeatedly that would cause a reasonable person to be afraid. Legal definitions of stalking vary from state to state.

  • Stalking behaviors can include:
  • Following or watching a person
  • Showing up at a person’s home, school or work
  • Vandalism
  • Sending or leaving presents
  • Calling, texting or emailing repeatedly

What does stalking have to do with dating abuse?

Over 60% of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know, and almost 40% of victims are stalked by a current or former partner. During a relationship, an abuser might keep track of a partner by requiring them to check in, or by following him or her. After a relationship has ended, an abuser might try to maintain control over the partner by following, harassing with calls or texts, sending presents (to the victim or to the victim’s friends and family).

Does stalking really affect that many people?

Over 1 million women and 370,000 men are stalked every year in the US. 1 in 12 women and 1 in 45 men will be stalked in their lifetimes, and the average amount of a time a person will be stalked is over a year.

Why is stalking dangerous?

  • 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by that partner; 31% were sexually assaulted.
  • 76% of women murdered by an intimate partner had been stalked by that partner.
  • Stalking can have emotional effects like anxiety, depression, nightmares and intense fear.
  • Friends of the stalking victim are also at risk of being stalked, threatened or harmed.

What can I do if I am being stalked?

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Let friends, family members and teachers know so they can help look out for you.
  • Try not to go out alone, especially at night.
  • When you go out, tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Always have your cell phone charged and with you.
  • Change your pattern (e.g. don’t park in the same place every day)
  • Talk to the police about getting a protective order.
  • Save any notes, presents, messages, texts or IMs from the stalker (this will help you if you need to get a protective order from the police).

Visit the Stalking Resource Center website for information and resources.


  • Tjaden, P. & Thoennes. N. (1998). Stalking in America. US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC.
  • Mohandie, K. et. al. (2006). The RECON typology of stalking: Reliability and validity based upon a large sample of North American stalkers. Journal of Forensic Science 51, 152.
  • Tjaden, P. & Thoennes. N. (1998). Stalking in America. US Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC.
  • Fisher, B., Cullen, F. & Turner, M. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
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