Stalking is unwanted pursuit, contact, intimidation or harassment with the intent to make a person afraid. A stalker may be someone you know- a former or current intimate partner, a coworker, classmate, or other acquaintance. Stalkers may also be someone you don’t know. New Beginnings primarily assist victims of intimate partner stalking.
The State of New Hampshire allows the courts to grant stalking victims protective orders if a person purposefully, knowingly, recklessly engages in a targeted course of conduct after being told to stop. At least two of the following events must have occurred to establish a course of conduct:
- Threatening the safety of the targeted person
- Following, approaching, or confronting that person
- Appearing close to the person’s residence, place of employment, school
- Causing damage to the person’s residence or property
- Placing an object on a person’s property directly or through a third person
- Causing injury to one’s pet
- Any act of harassing communication
All of these also apply if done to the person’s immediate family. For the full text of RSA633:3a click here.
Stalking often involves three types of threats:
- Explicit: A direct threat to your safety (Telling you they are going to kill you)
- Implicit: An implied threat to your safety (Saying “You’re going to be sorry”)
- Symbolic: A threat to your safety that only has meaning because of the stalker’s relationship to you. (Receiving gifts from “anonymous” persons you know to be them)
Stalkers are using many forms of technology – old and new – to control, coerce, and intimidate them during and after relationships. To learn more about other abusive behavior that exploits technology, click here. A true cyberstalker’s intent is to harm their intended victim using the anonymity and untraceable distance of technology. They use many types of technology to maintain control over their victims. Including:
Abusers commonly stalk through repeated and harassing telephone calls, sometimes using prepaid calling cards or prepaid cell phones that leave minimal information trails. Phone cards can be hard to trace when an indirect payment source is used. Perpetrators also leave threatening messages in voicemail and on answering machines.
Caller ID: Caller Identification (Caller ID) is a popular tool that abusers may use to monitor their victim’s telephone calls while in the relationship, and to stalk and locate their victim after the relationship has ended.
Cell Phones: Abusers can monitor their victims’ cell or wireless telephone use through the call history on the telephone and through billing records. Most cell phones keep an internal record of incoming and outgoing calls. Stalkers also use phone-based instant messaging services and simple text messaging to maintain constant access to their intimate partners. Stalkers can use new location based services provided by cell phone carriers to track the location of their victims.
Stalkers are increasingly using basic and sophisticated location and imaging technology to conduct surveillance, thus putting victims’ safety at great risk
Global Positioning Systems (GPS): Abusers use GPS that use satellite receivers to provide precise real-time worldwide positioning, to locate and follow victims. These devices vary by price, size, and appearance. GPS may appear as a small black box, a hand-held unit, or even a small chip in a wristband. Global positioning technology can also be part of anti- theft services for vehicles such as OnStar.
Hidden Cameras: Stalkers use small hidden cameras to monitor their victims and learn their routines. Stalkers use information they gather to exert power and control over their victims. Small wireless high-resolution cameras can be hidden in smoke detectors, children’s lamps, or behind a pin-sized hole in a wall, and can even be activated remotely.
Abusers continue to identify and adapt new computer software and hardware tools that allow them to further stalk and harass their victims. They not only use low-technology monitoring options such as viewing the website browser history or intercepting email, but also are increasingly using more sophisticated SpyWare software and hardware for surveillance.
Spyware: is a computer software program or hardware device that enables an unauthorized person (such as an abuser) to secretly monitor and gather information about your computer use.
Keystroke Logging Hardware: is inserted between the keyboard cable and the back of the computer. These tiny devices contain small hard drives that record every key typed, including all passwords, personal identification numbers (PIN), websites, and email.
Email &Instant Messages: Abusers are using email and instant messages to threaten victims and impersonate them. Stalkers can send victims malicious SpyWare or viruses as email attachments. Abusers are monitoring email and impersonating victims by stealing passwords and viewing email via SpyWare. Abusers with physical access to a victim’s computer can install and check these hidden devices.
Websites: Stalkers are setting up websites that threaten victims or encourage others to contact, harass, or harm the victim. Some abusers encourage others to stalk their victim by posting erroneous and harassing information on websites
Online Databases and Information Brokers: Stalkers use free and fee-based websites to track private information about their victims. Information brokers are commercial entities that buy and sell data, and frequently acquire information from public records and retail databases. In addition to fee-based services, many free websites such as court databases, voter registration, and religious directories provide a wealth of private contact information that can be used to track survivors nationwide as they attempt to relocate. Many courts are beginning to publish both indexes of court records and the full documents and case files to the Internet, often without providing any notice to citizens or options for victims to restrict web-access.
*Info adapted from A High Text Twist on Abuse: Technology, Intimate Partner Stalking, and Advocacyby NNEDV
If You Are Being Stalked
Notify Law Enforcement:
If you believe you are being stalked, call the police right away. Be sure to tell them about any previous action taken and the results (i.e., the stalker was warned to stay away from you). Consider obtaining a cellular phone. In the event that you are being followed while driving, you can call 911 immediately and document the incident as it is happening. (911 cell phone may be available at your nearest crisis center). It is important to get the docket number or file number of your complaint, as well as the name of the reporting officer so that you can follow up on the complaint.
Arrests can only be made if the stalker has already been warned by the police to stay away from you. If there is already a restraining order in place, the police must arrest the stalker. In the event of an arrest, the stalker will likely be bonded and released. Ask that a condition of the bond be no contact with you. Obtain copies of all documents and the name of the judge.
Document everything yourself:
Record witnesses’ names, dates, times, location, and what the stalker was doing, saying, wearing, driving (license plate no.), etc. If it can be done safely take pictures of the stalker.
Tell family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers:
Provide them with a description of the stalker. Ask them to watch for the stalker, to document everything listed above, and to give the written account to you.
Save all written material, legal documents, and telephone messages:
Save and date all cards, letters, notes and envelopes from the stalker. Obtain and keep copies of warrants, protective orders, court orders, etc.
Report threatening calls to the telephone company. Make use of your provider’s tracing system and Caller ID. Dial *57 immediately after receiving a harassing phone call, and the call will be traced for a small fee. Log the date and time of each successfully traced call.