What is Stalking?


Stalking behavior can take many forms and can vary greatly from situation to situation. Some common stalking behaviors include:

  • Following you and showing up wherever you are.
  • Repeatedly sending letters, emails and unwanted gifts.
  • Repeatedly asking you out.
  • Repeatedly calling you, including hang-ups.
  • Causing damage to your home, car, or other property.
  • Monitoring your phone calls or computer use.
  • Using technology, like hidden cameras and computers to track you down.
  • Driving by or hanging out at your home, school, or work.
  • Threatening to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
  • Finding out about you by using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting your friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
  • Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.

Who Are the Perpetrators and Victims of Stalking?

 A stalker can be a stranger or someone the victim knows including a partner, an ex-partner, or a family member. Stalking is a crime that can touch anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geographic location, or personal associations. However, the US Department of Justice reports that the overwhelming majority of victims are women (78%) and the majority of offenders (87%) are men. Nearly 60% of women and 30% of men who are stalked are stalked by a current partner. However, some stalkers develop an obsession for someone with whom they have no personal relationship. 

Illinois Stalking Advocacy Center offers services to ALL victims of stalking. Illinois Stalking Advocacy Center provides services to victims with or without a prior relationship with their stalker. 

What Should I Do if I'm Being Stalked?

 If you are being stalked, trust your instincts and don’t downplay the danger. Consider taking some or all of these steps:

  • If you have not already done so, assertively communicate that you want the behavior to stop and set and maintain personal boundaries.
  • Tell family, friends, roommates, and co-workers about the stalking and seek their support.
  • Stalking behavior can be confusing and it can be challenging to sort out what's happening.  Contact Illinois Stalking Advocacy Center for resources including safety planning.
  • It is also a good idea to make a record of the stalking behavior. Keep logs including the date, time, what happened, and the names of anyone who witnessed the incident. Save any packages, letters, messages or gifts from the stalker. Save all voicemail or text messages from the stalker. Illinois Stalking Advocacy Center's safety planning can help you get started. 
  • If you feel you are unsafe, you probably are and should seek help. Take threats seriously. Danger generally is higher when the stalker talks about suicide or murder, or when a victim tries to leave or end the relationship. Don’t confront a stalker. Go to a safe space and call the police. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

What is a Stalking No Contact Order?


Any person who is the victim of stalking through of a course of conduct that causes the victim to fear for his or her safety or the safety of another person, or to suffer emotional distress, and relief is not available to the victim through an Order of Protection or through a Sexual Assault Civil No Contact Order can file a Stalking No Contact Order. 

The judge can grant any or all of the following remedies: 

• Prohibit further stalking or threats of stalking; 

• Prohibit contact with the victim; 

• Order stalker to stay away from specific locations; 

• Prohibit stalker from having FOID card and owning firearms; 

• Other injunctive relief necessary to protect the victim.

What is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a court order which restricts an abuser/stalker and only is available to family or household members.  

Under Illinois law family or household members are defined as:

  • family members related by blood;
  • people who are married or used to be married;
  • people who share or used to share a home, apartment, or other common dwelling;
  • people who have or allegedly have child in common or a blood relationship through a child in common;
  • people who are dating or engaged or used to date, including same sex couples; and
  • people with disabilities and their personal assistants.

An order of protection may:

  • prohibit abuser from continuing threats and abuse (abuse includes physical abuse, harassment, intimidation, interference with personal liberty, or willful deprivation)
  • bar abuser from shared residence or bar abuser while using drugs or alcohol;
  • order abuser to stay away from you and other persons protected by the order and/or bar abuser from your work, school, or other specific locations;
  • require abuser to attend counseling;
  • prohibit abuser from hiding a child from you or taking a child out of state;
  • require abuser to appear in court or bring a child to court;
  • give you temporary physical possession of children or give you temporary legal custody;
  • specify visitation rights (if and when visitation is awarded);
  • bar abuser from accessing child's records;
  • give you certain personal property and require abuser to turn it over, or bar abuser from damaging, destroying or selling certain personal property;
  • require abuser to pay you support for minor children living with you, require abuser to pay you for losses suffered from the abuse, require abuser to pay for your or your children's shelter or counseling services;
  • require abuser to turn weapons over to local law enforcement, if there is danger of illegal use against you;
  • prohibit abuser from other actions; or
  • to protect you, require abuser to take other actions.

What is Cyberstalking?


Stalking can be carried out in person or via electronic mechanisms (phone, fax, GPS, cameras, computer spyware, or the Internet). Cyberstalking—the use of technology to stalk victims—shares some characteristics with real-life stalking. It involves the pursuit, harassment, or contact of others in an unsolicited fashion initially via the Internet and e-mail. Cyberstalking can intensify in chat rooms where stalkers systematically flood their target's inbox with obscene, hateful, or threatening messages and images. 

A cyberstalker may further assume the identity of his or her victim by posting information (fictitious or not) and soliciting responses from the cybercommunity. Cyberstalkers may use information acquired online to further intimidate, harass, and threaten their victim via courier mail, phone calls, and physically appearing at a residence or work place.

Although cyberstalking does not involve physical contact with a victim, it is still a serious crime. The increasing ubiquity of the Internet and the ease with which it allows others unusual access to personal information, have made this form of stalking ever more accessible. Potential stalkers may find it easier to stalk via a remote device such as the Internet rather than to confront an actual person. If you believe your are being cyberstalked, contact Illinois Stalking Advocacy Center.