Harassment is a crime which can have long lasting psychological effects on the victim and erode feelings of safety, privacy and comfort. Harassment includes sending threatening or unwanted emails, letters, and phone-calls, stalking, or sending unwanted gifts. It can escalate into attempts to injure or kill the victim, so it's important to learn how to stop harassment and take the necessary steps for protection.
Stop all contact. Contact with a harasser is like a reward for his efforts, even if the contact is an angry outburst or simply telling the harasser to leave you alone, and it can increase the duration of the harassment. Stop responding phone calls, emails, or letters. Avoid displaying angry or fearful emotions in public when the harasser might be stalking you. If the harasser is an employee at your place of work, or a nearby neighbor, considering changing jobs or moving.
Notify the police after each incident of harassment. It can be difficult to prove that somebody is harassing you, so it's important to have a record with the police. Request a police report after every incident, not only the first one. Keep your own records, noting the date, time, and details of each incident as they happen.
Enlist the help of family and friends. Trusted family and friends can provide a network of help and support while you are being harassed. Tell them what has happened so that they do not accept calls from the harasser or unwittingly aid him by providing information. Have family and friends visit you frequently so that you are not alone if the harasser decides to break in.
Block the harasser's phone number, if you know it. You can do this by calling 60 to block the number. If you don't know the number, wait until the harasser calls you, then hang up and call 60 immediately afterwords. Use an answering machine or voicemail to screen calls. Also, get a second number and give it only to family and friends that you trust. Do not give this number to employers, banks, or any other establishment which may give the information out to others or keep public records.
Avoid posting personal information on the Internet. Make sure any online profiles are locked to allow only friends to see the information. Never invite anyone you don't know personally as a friend on an online community site, and never post your location, address, or phone number on a profile.
Secure the home. Before going home every day, circle around the block a few times to make sure no one is following you. While at home, lock all doors and windows. Consider installing cameras or a burglar alarm for increased protection, or evidence if you ever need to go to court.
Obtain a restraining order. If the stalking continues unabated, and you have evidence of the stalking, you can attempt to file a restraining order with the local police department. Though restraining orders rarely deter the harasser, they can allow law enforcement officials to arrest him and charge him with a crime if he violates it.
Tips & Warnings
- Be vigilant, stalkings may continue for years. Once you think it has stopped it may start up again, so don't relax your security.