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Stalking: Safety Ideas

What is stalking?

Stalking -is legally defined in Illinois as; (1) a person at least twice following or placing you under surveillance and (2) at any time threatening you with or placing you in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement, or restraint.

Most stalking occurrences are committed by people that the victim once had a relationship with. When this is the case they can try to get an Order of Protection in Domestic Relations court. The Campus Advocacy Network (CAN), 312.413.8206 can help. Stalking by stranger, while less common, also happens. CAN will advise on legal options in this situation as well. In both cases document every stalking or harassing occurrence in a journal and save any phone messages, e-mails or letters that the stalker sends to you. Here are some more good ideas on how to protect yourself:

•  Call the police in an emergency: 911 off campus or 312. 996-Help on Campus

•  Call the Campus Advocacy Network @ 312. 413.8206 . We can discuss legal and administrative options and provide immediate crises support.

•  Tell your RA/roommates/friends about the situation.

•  If the stalker also lives in housing, try to get transferred into another building, switch rooms etc.

•  Let friends, roommates and RAs know where you are going and when you should be back. Check-in while out.

•  Call the UIC counseling center @312.996-3490. Being stalked is a stressful, fearful situation. A counselor can help you deal with these inner issues as well as provide a safe/supportive environment. UIC also has a crisis line, The In touch Hotline : 312-996-5535 Hours of Operation: 6:00pm - 10:30pm

•  Change your routine. Leave earlier or later than usual. Vary your routes to and from school, work, and social events. Try to travel with other people whenever possible.

•  Park your car in a different place than usual, switch cars with a friend or relative if possible.

•  Change your phone number. Make sure your new number is unlisted.

•  If the person stalking you has keys to your home, change your locks. 24 hour lock services in Chicago are: Amazing Lock-773.404.1855 , Security Shop- 773.525.6705

•  Let your neighbors and co-workers know about the situation. If you have a picture of the person, show people. Let them know to be on the look out for this person.

•  Tell your family, friends and co-workers not give out ANY information on where you are, what you are doing or how to get a hold of you. Stalkers will make up all sorts of “emergency” situations in order to con information out of your loved ones. Tell them to just say no, and hang up.

•  Carry around an emergency kit : money for a taxi or phone call, phone card, whistle, list of phone numbers and ID.

•  Do not try to reason with the stalker. They are not thinking and acting within reason and hence cannot be reasoned with. It will only frustrate you and exacerbate the situation.

•  When using the internet use gender neutral names and alternate email addresses (like yahoo or hotmail). Never give out personal information and use false information when signing up for chat or free email accounts

•  Change all of you computer, school and personal passwords.

•  If your stalker has personal information like credit card numbers or your social security number, call the authorities and report the issue before it becomes a problem.

•  Do not accept mediation as an acceptable legal option to solve this problem. Again, you cannot reason with people that stand outside reason.

This project was supported by Grant No. 2002-WA-BX-0011 awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women and the U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.