By: Undisputed Legal/Family Court Process Service Department
Stalking is a crime in New York State. Despite the now commonplace use of the term “stalking,” it is a serious safety risk and should be treated as such. Stalking is one person’s unwanted pursuit of another person. While some stalkers are strangers or acquaintances of those they target, most are current or former spouses or intimate partners who “just won’t let go.” Stalking can occur during a relationship or after it has ended. Many intimate partner stalkers also physically or sexually assault their victims or threaten to do so.
Stalking often involves the perpetrator:
- following you or showing up wherever you are;
- driving by or hanging out near your home, school, or workplace, or any other place you normally go;
- communicating with you or trying to do so after you’ve told them not to, including:
- calling you on the phone (including hang-ups);
- texting you or sending you messages via social networking sites;
- sending you unwanted letters, cards, e-mails, or gifts;
- asking your family, friends, co-workers, children, or others to leave messages for you or to find out information about you;
- monitoring your phone calls or computer use;
- damaging your home, car, or other property (or threatening to do so);
- accessing your online accounts and other secure personal information; or
- taking other actions that control, track, intimidate or frighten you.
While some of the stalking behaviors listed above may not seem dangerous or threatening to an outsider – and may not be illegal on their own – a pattern of stalking is serious and should be treated that way. If you are being stalked, it is important to keep a record of what is happening. This can become useful evidence if you decide to get help from the police or court. Every time something happens, you should record:
- the date, time and location of the incident;
- a description of the incident, including photos, if relevant;
- any witnesses, including their names, addresses, and phone numbers; and
- any police or legal assistance you seek and the documentation and outcome of that service.
Note: If you have texts or e-mails from the stalker on your phone, save them. If you goto the police, they may want to take photos of the messages as evidence.