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Behaviors of Stalkers and their Impact on Survivors

What is stalking?

Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. It can occur online or in-person.

Stalking is a form of emotional abuse, but it is often a key indicator that abuse will escalate and can become violent.

Common stalking behaviors include:
  • Repeated phone calls, voicemails, emails, and text messages
  • Monitoring a victim’s phone activity or computer use
  • Driving by, waiting at, or showing up at the victim’s home, school, or work
  • Sending unwanted gifts, letters, or cards
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on social media sites, in public places, or by word of mouth
  • Searching for information about the victim by conducting public records or online searches, hiring private investigators, digging through the victim’s garbage, or contacting the victim’s friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers
  • Using technology, such as hidden cameras, to watch the victim
  • Following the victim, either in person or via the use of technology (e.g., GPS or location-based apps)
  • Hacking social media accounts to monitor, harass or isolate the victim
  • Using a third party to contact or stalk the victim (i.e., proxy stalking)
  • Committing identity theft or financial fraud against the victim, such as opening, closing, or taking money from accounts
  • Using children to harass or monitor the victim
  • Vandalizing or destroying a victim’s property, car, or home
  • Violating protective orders or other injunctions
  • Threatening to hurt the victim or their family, friends, or pets
  • Threatening to kill the victim or others, self, or pets
The most dangerous perpetrators are those who:
  • Engage in actual pursuit of the victim
  • Possess or are interested in weapons
  • Commit other crimes such as vandalism or arson
  • Are prone to emotional outbursts and rage
  • Have a history of violating protection orders, substance abuse, mental illness and/or violence, especially toward the victim
  • Have made threats of murder or murder-suicide
The most dangerous times for a stalking victim are when:
  • The victim has separated from the stalker
  • The stalker has been arrested or served with a protection order
  • The stalker has a major negative life event, such as the loss of a job or being evicted
  • The stalking behaviors increase in frequency or escalate in severity
Effects of stalking on a survivor:
  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Inability to study
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of confidence
  • Confusion
  • Loss of relationships
  • Depression
  • Minimization
  • Economic losses
  • Nightmares
  • Embarrassment
  • PTSD
  • Emotional numbness
  • Self-Blame
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Flashbacks
  • Shock
  • Frustration
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Frustration
  • Social isolation
  • Guilt
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Hypervigilance
  • Unable to accomplish daily tasks
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Weight changes
Source: The national center for victims of crime stalking resource center program
Did you know that CASA's Injunction Attorneys also serve victims of stalking at no charge? If you or someone you know is being stalked, call CASA's 24-hour hotline at (727) 895-4912.

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