What can you do?

There is no generally applicable or right approach or strategy. Each stalking case is unique and must be considered closely. All the same, there is some advice, which can be helpful to victims.

First of all, it should immediately be made clear to the stalker in no uncertain terms that his contact is not desired and that he/she is to stop. At best, this is done in writing and by registered mail. This should then also be the last personal reaction of the victim.

Contacting a counselling centre (rape crisis centre or women’s counselling centre) can be a relief. People affected will get support there. They will receive information on possible measures, and further assistance can be provided, such as putting the victim in touch with a lawyer.

It is advisable to talk about the situation with friends, relatives, neighbours etc. Not only does this lend support but it can prevent the abuser from getting information on the victim from them upon request. Going public may protect you.

It is important to preserve evidence: all letters, e-mails, text messages, messages on the answering machine etc. should be saved. Victims should keep a stalking log, in which they record the place, date, time and stalking action in such a way that the course of the stalking incidents can be reconstructed. This can be very useful if legal steps are taken.

It is always a good idea to look for eye and ear witnesses of the stalking incidents. It is advisable to contact a lawyer and possibly to apply for an injunction at the local court, or file a criminal complaint with the police. An interception circuit or an ex-directory telephone number (ask your telephone line provider) can protect you against phone harassment.

It is very important that stalking victims remain firm and consistent and that they do not react to the harassments anymore after the first rejection. Experience has shown that the power of the stalker may decrease after a while, concurrently with the increasing strength and consistency of the victim.