Many people struggle with how to respond to the stalker. Some people try to reason with the stalker, try to "let them down easy" or "be nice" in hopes of getting the stalker to stop the behavior. Some people tell themselves that the behavior "isn't that bad" or other sentiments that minimize the stalking behavior.
Other people may confront or threaten the stalker and/or try to "fight back." These methods rarely work because stalkers are actually encouraged by any contact with the person, even negative interactions.
Victims of stalking can not predict what stalkers will do but can determine their own responses to the stalking behavior. Personal safety and harm prevention is of the utmost importance for people. While victims cannot control the stalking behavior, they can be empowered to take steps to keep themselves, family and loved ones safe. The creation of a safety plan can assist victims in doing this.
A safety plan is a combination of suggestions, plans, and responses created to help victims reduce their risk of harm. It is a tool designed in response to the victim's specific situation that evaluates what the victim is currently experiencing, incorporates the pattern of previous behavior, and examines options that will positively impact the victim's safety. In a safety plan, the factors that are causing or contributing to the risk of harm to the victim and her/his loved ones are identified and interventions are developed.
While victims can make safety plans on their own, it is often helpful to enlist the assistance of trained professionals. These professionals, including advocates and law enforcement officers, can help a victim determine which options will best enhance their safety and will work to devise a safety plan to address each unique situation and circumstance. Victim advocates can be found in local domestic violence and rape crisis programs, as well as in victim assistance programs in local prosecutors' offices and in law enforcement agencies.
Stalking Safety Tips
- If possible, have a phone nearby at all times, preferably one to which the stalker has never had access. Memorize emergency numbers, and make sure that 911 and helpful family or friends are on speed dial.
When out of the house or work environment, try not to travel alone and try to stay in public areas.
- Get a new, unlisted phone number. Leave the old number active and connected to an answering machine or voicemail. Have a friend, advocate, or law enforcement screen the calls, and save any messages from the stalker. These messages, particularly those that are explicitly abusive or threatening, can be critical evidence for law enforcement to build a stalking case against the offender.
- Treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and inform law enforcement immediately.
- Vary routines, including changing routes to work, school, the grocery store, and other places regularly frequented. Limit time spent alone and try to shop at different stores and visit different bank branches.
- Do not interact with the person stalking or harassing you. Responding to stalker's actions may reinforce their behavior
- Consider obtaining a protective order against the stalker. Some states offer stalking protective orders and other victims may be eligible for protective orders under their state's domestic violence statutes.
- Trust your instincts. If you're somewhere that doesn't feel safe, either find ways to make it safer, or leave.
If in imminent danger, locate a safe place. Consider going to:
- Police Station
- Residences of family or friends (locations unknown to the perpetrators)
- Domestic violence shelters
- Place of worship
- Public areas (some stalkers may be less inclined toward violence or creating a disturbance in public places).
Safety at home:
- Identify escape routes out of your house. Teach them to your children.
- Install solid core doors with dead bolts. If all keys cannot be accounted for, change the locks and secure the spare keys. Fix any broken windows or doors.
- Have a code word you use with your children that tells them when they need to leave.
- Inform neighbors and, if residing in an apartment, any on-site managers about the situation, providing them with a photo or description of the stalker and any vehicles they may drive if known. Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the stalker at your house. Agree on a signal you will use when you need them to call the police.
- Pack a bag with important items you'd need if you had to leave quickly. Put the bag in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative you trust. • Consider putting together a "stalking sack" that includes the stalking log, a camera, information about the offender.
Safety at work and school:
- Give a picture of the stalker to Campus Police and friends at work and school.
- Tell your supervisors. They have a responsibility to keep you safe at work.
- Ask a security guard to walk you to your car or to the bus.
- If the stalker contacts you, save any voicemails, text messages, and e-mails.
- Give the school or daycare center a copy of your protective order.
- Tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first.
- Make sure your children know to tell a teacher or administrator at school if they see the stalker.
- Make sure that the school and work know not to give your address or phone number to anyone.
- Keep a copy of your protective order at work.
Copyright - 2009 by the National Center for Victims of Crime.
- A person commits an offense if the person, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that:
- Constitutes an offense if the offense under Section 42.07, or that the actor knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as threatening
B. bodily injury or death for a member of the other person's family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship; or
C. that an offense will be committed against the other person's property;
- Causes the other person, a member of the other person's family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or in fear that an offense will be committed against the other person's property, or to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended; and
- would cause a reasonable person to:
B. fear bodily injury or death for a member of the person's family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship;
C. fear that an offense will be committed against the person's property; or feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended.
D. An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under this section or of an offense under any of the following laws that contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under this section:
(1) the laws of another state;
(2) the laws of a federally recognized Indian tribe;
(3) the laws of a territory of the United States; or
(4) federal law. A. For purposes of this section, a trier of fact may find that different types of conduct described by Subsection (a), if engaged in on more than one occasion, constitute conduct that is engaged in pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct.
(d) In this section:
2. "Property" includes a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal, as defined by Section 121.002, Human Resources Code.
For offenses including stalking sanctions range from warnings through expulsion. Serious and violent incidents and acts of non-consensual sexual intercourse (the policy equivalent to the crime of rape) usually result in suspension, expulsion or termination of employment. This policy can be found online.
Procedurally, when the College receives a report of sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, or other sex or gender discrimination the campus Title IX Coordinator is notified.
If the victim wishes to access local community agencies and/or law enforcement for support, the College will assist the victim in making these contacts.
Campus Police 903-675-6235
Melinda Berry the campus victim’s advocate
Dian Gard, Ph. D 903-887-0697
Julianne Davis Ph. D 903-675-7710
Bill McBride Ph. D 903-675-9570
Bonnie McBride LCSW 903-675-9570
Joan Freidman LPC 214-415-1258
Summer Allen Wilson, LCSW 903-677-4800
East Texas Crisis Center at 903-595-5591 or 800-333-0358
Contact the Campus Police at 903-675-6235 located in the Student Union building suite 103, Student Judicial office 903-675-6256 located in the Administration building suite AD127, or the Director of Human Resources 903-675-6215 located in the Administration building suite AD 214 if you need assistance with Trinity Valley Community College-related concerns, such as no-contact orders or other protective measures. The Campus Police, Director of Human Resources, and Councilor will also assist in any needed advocacy for students who wish to obtain protective or restraining orders from local authorities. The College is able to offer reasonable academic accommodations, changes to living arrangements, transportation accommodations, escorts, no contact orders, counseling services access and other supports and resources as needed by a victim.
The Title IX Coordinator will offer assistance to victims in the form of interim or long-terms measures such as opportunities for academic accommodations, changes in housing for the victim or the responding student, visa and immigration assistance, changes in working situations and other assistance as may be appropriate and available on campus or in the community (such as no contact orders, campus escorts, transportation assistance, targeted interventions, etc).
If the victim so desires, they will be connected with a counselor on- or off-campus, as well as an on-or off-campus victim’s advocate. No victim is required to take advantage of these services and resources, but the College provides them in the hopes of offering help and support without condition or qualification. A summary of rights, options, supports and procedures, in the form of this document, is provided to all victims, whether they are a student, employee, guest or visitor.
When appropriate upon receipt of notice, the Title IX Coordinator will cause a prompt, fair and impartial process to be initiated, commencing with an investigation which may lead to the imposition of sanctions, based upon a preponderance of evidence (what is more likely than not), upon a responding student or other accused individual. Procedures detailing the investigation and resolution processes of the College can be found online.
The investigation and records of the resolution conducted by the College are maintained confidentially. Information is shared internally between administrators who need to know, but a tight circle is kept. Where information must be shared to permit the investigation to move forward, the person bringing the accusation will be informed.
Privacy of the records specific to the investigation are maintained in accordance with Texas law and the federal FERPA statute. Any public release of information to comply with the open crime logs or timely warning provisions of the Clery Act will not release the names of victims or information that could easily lead to a victim’s identification.
Additionally, the College maintains privacy in relation to any accommodations or protective measures afforded to a victim, except to the extent necessary to provide the accommodations and/or protective measures.
In any complaint of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence or other sex or gender-based discrimination covered under the federal law, Title IX, the person bringing the accusation and the responding party are entitled to the same opportunities for a support person or advisor of their choice throughout the process, including any meeting, conference, hearing or other procedural action.
Once complete, the parties will be informed, in writing, of the outcome, including the finding, the sanctions (if any) and the rationale therefore. Delivery of this outcome to the parties will occur without undue delay between notifications. All parties will be informed of the College appeal processes, and their rights to exercise a request for appeal. Should any change in outcome occur prior to finalization, all parties will be timely informed in writing, and will be notified when the results of the resolution process become final.