On this page, you will find educational information and resources about stalking. You can also read Yale’s official definitions of stalking by visiting the Title IX at Yale website.
General Information About Stalking
To an outsider, stalking behavior can sometimes appear friendly and unthreatening, such as the receipt of numerous gifts or flattering messages. The person experiencing this behavior may find themselves needing to explain to others just how intrusive and frightening this unwanted attention can be. Stalking is sometimes dismissed when it occurs in digital spaces (cell phones, computers, networking sites, surveillance equipment, and so on), but the medium is not what matters—it is the pattern of repeated, unwanted communication that defines stalking. While the most common type of stalking is done by a person from a past personal or romantic relationship, stalking can occur during a relationship, after a relationship, or in the absence of a relationship.
Stalking can take many forms including (but not limited to):
- Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications by phone, mail, email, text, social media, etc.
- Following or laying in wait at places such as home, school, work, or recreational spaces.
- Repeatedly leaving or sending unwanted items or presents.
- Making direct or indirect threats of harm against a person or against their children, relatives, friends, or pets.
- Damaging or threatening to damage someone’s property.
- Harassment that occurs online.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about someone on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
- Obtaining personal information about a person by accessing records, using Internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the someone’s garbage, following them, contacting their friends, family, work, or neighbors, etc.
It can be important and helpful to be in contact with professionals who can help if this is something you or someone you know is experiencing. SHARE can help you assess the situation and make a safety plan as well as connect you to other campus or community resources including the Sensitive Crimes and Support Coordinator at the Yale Police Department if this is something you would like. We can also guide and support you in the process of applying for a restraining or protective order if you are interested. Your physical safety is critical, and so it is our initial focus. But focusing on your emotional well-being is equally as important. SHARE can offer ongoing counseling and support to students and referral support to other members of the Yale community. Call us at any time of day or night. We are here for you.
Orders of Protection
One option for addressing situations involving stalking is to apply for a protective order – a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or a Civil Protective Order (CPO), depending on relationship between the parties. Protective orders may include any or all of the following provisions, based on the circumstances and the discretion of the judge assigned to the case (from WomensLaw.org):
- order the abuser to not threaten, harass, assault, molest, sexually assault or attack you;
- prohibit the abuser from imposing any restraint upon you or your liberty (freedom);
- prohibit the abuser from entering your home or the shared family home;
- grant you temporary child custody or visitation rights;
- order the abuser to not injure or threaten to injure your animals;
- order the abuser not to contact you in any way, including through your home, workplace, etc.;
- order the abuser to stay 100 yards away from you;
- anything else that is needed to protect you, your children and/or anyone else the judge believes is appropriate.
- Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center - Provides education and resources about the crime of stalking. SPARC aims to enhance the response to stalking through education around keeping those impacted by stalking safe and holding offenders accountable.
- VictimConnect Resource Center – A program of the National Center for Victims of Crime where those who have been impacted by crime (including stalking) can learn about their rights and options confidentially and compassionately. Options include a traditional telephone-based hotline, online chat option, and web-based information and service referrals.
- RAINN Information Page on Stalking - Information and safety planning for individuals experiencing stalking. Also offers a telephone helpline and online chat option which can be used by those who impacted by stalking.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline Safety Planning Resource for Stalking – Information and safety planning for individuals experiencing stalking. Also offers a telephone helpline and online chat option which can be used by those who impacted by stalking.
- Office on Women’s Health – Provides information and resources related to stalking.
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Provides information and resources related to stalking.