Know what stalking is.
Stalking is defined as threats, along with repeated harassing behavior that cause a person to fear for their personal safety. It can include the use of regular mail, e-mail, instant messaging, text messages, posting on social websites and/or faxes. Stalking and cyber stalking (see below) are behaviors prohibited by University policy and New Hampshire law and are a crime.
Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. No two stalking situations are alike. Although women are more likely to be stalked than men, anyone can be a victim of stalking, including college students from any economic, ethnic, or religious group.
The vast majority of stalking victims know their stalker, usually because they have had a relationship with them. The stalker can be an intimate partner or former partner, classmate, roommate, or other acquaintance. A victim can be stalked for several days or for many years. The stalker’s actions also can affect family, friends, and coworkers. Stalking can be difficult to distinguish, which contributes to a lack of public awareness about the crime of stalking.
Know the signs of a stalker.
- Repeatedly call, message, and/or text you, including hang-ups
- Follow you and show up wherever you are
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails
- Damage your home, car, or other property
- Use technology, like hidden cameras, apps or GPS to track you
- Drive by or hang out at your apartment/residence hall,
outside your classroom or at your work
- Monitor your phone calls, computer use, or social network account(s)
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends or pets
- Find out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring private investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting your friends, classmates, family, neighbors, or co-workers
- Other actions that control or frighten you.
Know what you should do if you are being stalked.
If you are in IMMEDIATE DANGER, call 911
Trust your INSTINCTS. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are. Take THREATS seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about harming themselves or someone else, or when a victim/survivor tries to leave or end a relationship.
Contact us at SHARPP. We can assist in helping you devise a personal safety plan, provide you with information about local laws and University policies, and provide support and advocacy.
Develop a SAFETY PLAN. Include things like changing your routine, arranging a place to stay, and having a friend go places with you. Also, decide in advance what to do if the stalker shows up at your apartment/residence hall, classroom, work, or somewhere else. Let your friends know how they can help you.
Tell FAMILY, FRIENDS, and OTHERS YOU TRUST about the stalking and seek their support.
Keep DOCUMENTATION for evidence of the stalking. Keep a log of the time, date, and location and keep e-mails, messages, texts, etc. Photograph damages and any injuries. This information is helpful if you decide to get a protective order.
Contact the UNH POLICE. The University Police can assist you with understanding and taking action if the stalker has broken the law. Remember, every state has stalking laws, including New Hampshire. If you don’t want to contact the Police alone, consider contacting SHARPP for assistance.
Consider getting a COURT ORDER/PROTECTIVE ORDER that tells the stalker to stay away from you. If you aren’t ready to get a court order/protective order, the Police can also send the stalker a “Stalking Letter” that informs them to stay away from you or else other action will be taken.
Get CAMPUS SUPPORT. The prevalence of anxiety, insomnia, social dysfunction, and severe depression is much higher among stalking victims than the general population, especially if the stalking involves being followed or having one’s property destroyed.  There are many services on campus that are here to offer you support. The Psychological and Counseling Services provides individualized counseling, Health & Wellness provides education and counseling. If you need help finding support at UNH, contact SHARPP.
Also, the National Center for Victims of Crime partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women to create the Stalking Resource Center (SRC). Visit these websites for more information.
Know how to help a friend who is being stalked
If your friend tells you they are being stalked: Believe them. Your friend needs to be believed and supported.
It is never the fault of the victim for being stalked. Stalking has nothing to do with the victim's behavior, actions or the reality of the situation.
Support and understanding are essential. Stalking, like relationship abuse & sexual assault, can cause depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach problems, sleeping problems, etc. Let your friend talk as much as or as little as they need to. It is important that you listen and believe them.
Do not respond to the stalker. Any response from you can be misinterpreted by the stalker and may even encourage the stalker. Contact with the stalker can put you or your friend in further danger.
Advise your friend to keep evidence and document everything. You can also document any incidence of stalking that you witness. Tell your friend to keep a log of the time, date, place and other details they may find of importance. Tell them to keep all e-mails, phone messages, letters, notes or social media messages. Tell them to photograph any damages to their personal possessions and any injuries they may have incurred.
Respect Privacy. Stalkers can be very clever about getting information so do not give any information out about your friend, no matter what the stalker might say.
Help them feel safe. Offer to spend time with your friend so they do not have to be alone.
Refer your friend to SHARPP. We can assist in helping your friend devise a personal safety plan, provide them with information about local laws and University policies, and provide support and advocacy. We can assess the situation and refer your friend to counseling, legal aid, provide an escort on campus and be a safe place on campus where their needs will be heard and responded to.
Get Support for Yourself.
Sometimes the friends of victims can also feel the impact of the crime, and experience emotional and physical reactions. This is called secondary victimization. Hearing about stalking can be upsetting. You may feel angry, sad, frustrated, and helpless. If you have experienced crime or other traumatic events in the past, your friend’s experience might bring up memories and feelings of that time. You may want to talk about your feelings but also respect your friend’s privacy. You too can contact SHARPP and speak to an advocate confidentially. You can also use our online service Ask An Advocate and send us a question online.
1 Eric Blauuw et al., “The Toll of Stalking,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, no. 1 (2002):50-63
CyberSafe at UNH
Learn how to keep yourself safe with technology.
Cyber Safety Tips
Technology is often misused by abusive partners. Spyware/computer and phone monitoring software enables a person to secretly monitor someone else’s computer activity and access your webcam on your devices. It can be installed remotely by sending an email, photo, or instant message and it runs hidden on a computer.
Everyone deserves to feel safe when accessing online resources or using social media.
Below are some tips on how to keep yourself safe.
- If you are in IMMEDIATE DANGER, call 911
- Trust your INSTINCTS. Don’t downplay the danger. If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are. If someone knows too much about your computer activity, your computer maybe monitored.
- Don’t open any attachments if you don’t know the sender, or you suspect abuse. Instead, delete the attachment or have IT staff look at it.
- Consider changing passwords and creating new accounts on another computer. Don’t access those accounts or use those passwords on the monitored computer.
Social Media Safety
Social media platforms have become a big part of our online lives. Social networks are a great way to stay connected with friends and family but you should be wary about how much personal information you post. Take control of your safety and privacy to help prevent misuse by abusers, stalkers, and perpetrators who use it to stalk
Below are tips on how to keep yourself safe.
- Privacy and security settings are for your safety: Periodically review the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post so you can control your online experience.
- Once you post, it’s always posted: What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want someone to see (your family or future employers)
- Keep personal info personal: Be careful about how much personal info you post. The more info you post, the easier it will be for someone to use that info to harass, bully or stalk you.
- Know and manage your friends: A large pool of friends is part of the fun with social media networking. But that doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use your personal profile to keep the friends you know and trust up to date with your daily life.
- Know what action to take: If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove them from your friend's list, block them and report them to the site administrator.
- Be honest if you’re uncomfortable: If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or seems inappropriate, let them know. And, post only about others as you have them post about you. The Golden Rule* applies online as well.
Get Support for Yourself. SHARPP is here to help.
Adapted from nnedv.org/safetynet, Technology Safety Quick Tips and staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/securing-key-accounts-devices/social-media/
*The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated.