National Stalking Awareness Month


Stalking can be a strong indicator of other forms of violence and accounts for 76% of intimate partner femicide victims.  The majority of stalking victims are stalked by an intimate partner or someone they know.


A good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.


A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all.  Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk.  Most, but not all, stalking cases involve men stalking women.  Intimate partner stalkers frequently approach their targets, and their behaviors escalate quickly.  Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time. A presence of stalking behavior is an indicator of a high-risk situation and should be taken into account when performing risk assessment and safety planning with a victim.


Stalking is legally defined primarily by state statutes. Stalking is defined in VA Code §18.2-60.3 as a person who “on more than one occasion engages in conduct directed at another person with the intent to place, or when he knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places, that the other person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person's family or household members is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.” 


However, the term “stalking” is more commonly used to describe specific kinds of behavior directed at a particular person, such as harassing or threatening another person. The variety of specific strategies employed, and behaviors displayed by stalkers are limited only by the creativity and ingenuity of the stalker themselves. Virtually any unwanted contact between a stalker and their victim which directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can generally be referred to a stalking, even if it does not rise to the legal standard.  


Some things stalkers do:

•  Follow and show up wherever you are

•  Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or emails

•  Damage your home, car, or other property

•  Monitor your phone call or computer use

•  Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track you

•  Drive by or hangout at your home, school, or work

•  Threaten to hurt you, your family, or pets

•  Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting your friends, neighbors, or co-workers

•  Posting information or spreading rumors about you on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth

•  Other actions that control, track, or frighten you


More information can be found at