Advocacy Services

Stalking

Advocacy Services > Stalking

It is not your fault.

If you are experiencing or have experienced stalking, it's not your fault.

Defining Stalking

Stalking in the context of intimate relationships is a course of conduct (i.e., more than one act) directed at a partner that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear, to experience emotional distress or to fear for the safety of a third person.  Acts that together constitute stalking may be direct actions or may be communicated by a third party, and can include, but are not limited to:  threats of harm to self or others; pursuing or following; nonā€consensual (unwanted) communication by any means; unwanted gifts; trespassing; and surveillance or other types of observation.

Stalking, as defined by Virginia law, is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear death, sexual assault, or bodily injury. Stalking can include:

  • Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail, and/or email.
  • Repeatedly leaving or sending victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers.
  • Following or lying in wait for the victim at places such as their home, school, work, or recreation place.
  • Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim, the victim's children, relatives, friends, or pets.
  • Damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property.
  • Harassing victim through the internet.
  • Posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
  • Obtaining personal information about the victim by accessing public records, using internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the victim's garbage, following the victim, contacting victim's friends, family, work, neighbors, etc.
     

If you are experiencing stalking, it can be critical to maintain a log of stalking-related incidents and behavior, especially if you choose to engage with the criminal or civil justice systems. Recording this information will help to document the behavior for protection order applications, divorce and child custody cases, or criminal prosecution. It can also help preserve your memory of individual incidents about which you might later report or testify. The stalking log should be used to record and document all stalking-related behavior, including the behaviors listed above or any behavior that causes you fear or contributes to an overall pattern of behaviors that causes you fear. When reporting the incidents to law enforcement, always write down the officer's name and badge number for your own records. Even if the officers do not make an arrest, you can ask them to make a written report and request a copy for your records.

Shocking Statistics[1]
  • 18-24 year olds experience the highest rates of stalking.
  • The majority of victims know the offender.
  • More than 1 in 3 bisexual women and 1 in 6 heterosexual women has experienced stalking behaviors in their lifetime.

Please remember this is not your fault and how you feel is normal. There are people on & off campus that are here to support you.

For assistance, contact The Well at 804-828-9355 or MyOptions@vcu.edu to speak with an advocate and/or schedule an appointment. If you have a disability and need additional accommodation, we will do our best to provide the service necessary.

If you need assistance after standard business hours (8:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday - Thursday and 10:30 am - 4:30 pm Friday), call the 24/7 Richmond Regional Hotline at: 804-612-6126.

You may also phone VCU Police at: 804-828-1234 and ask to be connected with a 24 hour on-call VCU Counseling Services therapist.