How can I protect myself from being stalked?

If you feel that you are being stalked, you can do a lot of things to protect yourself. There is no single response that is appropriate for all stalking victims. Here are some suggestions:

  • Contact your local law enforcement authorities.
  • Get a Personal Protection Order (PPO) from your county's Circuit Court. If you have PPO questions, contact your county's Prosecuting Attorney.
  • Keep detailed records of all incidents. When possible, tape-record, videotape or photograph encounters. Make sure the harassment is officially noted in police reports so you can establish a history for court proceedings. Note the date, the time and place of each incident. Take photos of destroyed property or injuries. Keep all answering machine tapes for evidence, especially those that contain threats to harm or kill. To help you document PPO violations, download our Stalking Victim's Log (PDF).
  • Warn people about your situation. Tell family members, neighbors and co-workers to not give out personal information about you to anyone. At work, have visitors and phone calls screened. Tell building security about your situation.
  • Secure your home. Install good deadbolt locks and adequate outside lighting. Lock your windows.
  • Change you daily travel route so the stalker cannot easily follow you. Do not walk alone.
  • Get a second, unlisted phone line or a cellphone so that your answering machine can record threats. You can pick up calls from family and friends on your private line. Give your private line number out to only a few trusted people.
  • Contact groups that can help, such as the National Organization for Victim Assistance at 800-879-6682, the End Violent Encounters (EVE), Inc. at 517-372-5572, or a local women's shelter in your area.
  • Do not try to talk sense into a stalker or agree to meet your stalker to "clarify things."
  • Do not plead with the stalker to be left alone. It does no good. Call the police.
  • Do not return gifts or send back letters. In many cases this, has caused the stalking to intensify. Keep items for documentation and evidence.
  • Do not come to the stalker's aid if the person fakes a crisis to make you feel guilty. If the stalker threatens suicide, call the police to assist.
  • If your stalker is an ex-lover, forget about reconciliation.
  • Be prepared. Have quick access to telephone numbers and locations of police departments, emergency shelters or friends' homes. Keep money and a packed suitcase available with your important documents for a quick departure. Create a safety plan (PDF) for yourself.

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1. What typically happens during a criminal prosecution in Michigan? What are the steps?
2. Am I a "crime victim"?
3. What if someone threatens me?
4. How can I protect myself from being stalked?
5. What if the defense attorney contacts me?
6. Can you tell me what the defendant's sentence will be?
7. I am the victim and I want to drop the charge. Can I?
8. The judge ordered the defendant to pay restitution to me, but so far I haven't received anything. Who can help me?
9. How do I get my property back?