Northeastern defines stalking as a willful and/or malicious pattern of conduct or series of acts directed at a specific person, which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to, conduct, acts or threats conducted in person, or by mail, phone, electronic communication, or social media.
Stalking can occur in an intimate relationship (current or former), with an acquaintance or stranger. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, the majority of victims are stalked by someone they know. They report that 7.5 million people are stalked every year in the U.S.
What are my options if someone is stalking me?
Call for help. If you’re in immediate danger call Northeastern University Police Department’s (NUPD) emergency number 617.373.3333 or 911.
Keep of log of the behavior. The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) offers this incident behavior and documentation log. Stalkers often use technology. Make sure to keep any record of stalking behavior that happens over email, phone, social media etc. This Tech Safety Site offers more information and tips about what you can do if you are being stalked or harassed online.
Make a report. You may report to NUPD or the Office for University Equity and Compliance (Title IX) on campus. Please know that reporting to NUPD does NOT commit you to future legal action. They can act as a liaison with other police departments to investigate incidents that occur off campus and can discuss options for pursuing criminal charges or protection orders.
If the person stalking you is a member of the Northeastern community, you have the option to get a no-contact order issued through the Office for Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution (OSCCR). You have the option to report to the Office for University Equity and Compliance (Title IX) in person or online at northeastern.edu/titleix (anonymous option available) and to pursue university action. To understand more about on-campus reporting options including a step by step description of the investigation and adjudication process, please see the Title IX policy.
Make a safety plan. A safety plan is a plan to help you reduce your risk of harm. You may put this together yourself or with a trusted friend although it may be helpful to work with a trained professional. The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) offers these stalking safety strategies and the National Center for Victims of Crime offers this information about stalking safety planning.
Consider utilizing a risk assessment. The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center puts out Stalking Harassment and Risk Profile Risk Assessment . We encourage you to complete this with a service provider who can also help you to create a safety plan.
End all communication with the person stalking you. The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC) offers tips for how to express your desire for no contact. A few of their examples include, “Do not call, stop by, text, or contact me in any way whatsoever.” “I do not want you to contact me in any way. If you continue to do so – or if you are on my property, or follow me – I will call the police.”
Find more information for victims of stalking on the victims of crime website. The Stalking Resource Center provides this brochure on warning signs of stalking, common reactions to stalking, and things you can do.
How can I support a friend or loved one who is being stalked?
- Listen non-judgmentally and validate their concerns.
- Don’t blame them. “It’s not your fault.”
- Respect their power and choice. “How can I support you?” “What would be helpful from me?”
- Help connect them to resources. The Stalking Resource Center provides this brochure on warning signs of stalking, common reactions to stalking, and things you can do. See above for more information on stalking and safety planning. Know that staff on campus are available to support you and your friend.
- Take care of yourself. Get support and ensure your own safety.