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A stalker can personally violate your space, your person, your property or simply harass you emotionally and mentally.

girl on phone being followed
Stalking is when a person willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses or cyberstalks another person.

Information About Stalking

Under Florida state statute (784.048) stalking is when a person willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses or cyberstalks another person.  This is a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year imprisonment and up to $1,000 fine.

In a 2000 study completed by Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (“The Sexual Victimization of College Women”), 13 % of college women reported being stalked. Eighty percent of those victims reported that they knew their stalkers.  In a 2006 study performed by Mohandie, et al. (“The RECON Typology of Stalking: Reliability and Validity Based upon a Large Sample of North American Stalkers”), one-third of the stalkers interviewed reported that they had stalked previously. Because of statistics such as these, the University of West Florida takes allegations of stalking seriously, and will thoroughly investigate any complaints received. 

The following guidelines are offered to help you protect yourself if you believe you are the victim of stalking:

Contact the police department immediately.  What you are experiencing may not be stalking, but it is always better to be cautious.

Be decisive in your relationships.  If you aren’t interested in dating an individual, make that known to him/her in clear, but polite, terms. Humoring the person will only allow him/her to believe that you are interested in a relationship.

Keep a record of any contact between you and the stalker.  It is important for a criminal prosecution to be able to show a record of the stalker’s actions toward you.

Don’t initiate contact with the stalker.  The stalker will use your actions as a defense to show that the contact he/she had with you was in response to your behavior.

If the stalker uses the internet to harass you, do not delete these records.

If the stalker uses the telephone to harass you, keep a record of the calls.  If the stalker leaves voice mail messages, keep the recording of those messages to give to the police.

Do not respond to the stalker’s attempts contact you, whether in person, by telephone, or by computer.

If you believe you are being stalked, make sure that you travel on campus with a friend rather than by yourself.  If a friend is not available, contact the police department to arrange for a safety escort to accompany you to your vehicle/residence halls.

Vary your route of travel.  If the stalker is familiar with your class schedule, have your schedule changed, if possible. If it is too late in the semester to have your schedule changed, alternate the entrance you use to classroom buildings, alternate the lots you park in, and make sure you have someone with you on your way to and from class.

If the stalker is familiar with your vehicle, make sure you park in well-lit, busy areas.  If possible, park where you can watch your vehicle from your classroom/apartment.

Always carry a cell phone with you, and have the phone number for the police department programmed into the memory.

If the stalker knows your telephone number, have your number changed and give the number only to trustworthy family and friends.

If the stalker knows your UWF e-mail address, contact ITS (850-474-2075) to have your address changed. You will need to provide your police report case number, for ITS records.  If you have a separate account through another provider, contact your provider to have your address changed.

If you live on campus, make sure your RA is aware of your concerns and the identity of the stalker.  If necessary, provide a picture of him/her so that the hall staff can assure that he/she does not gain access to the building.

If you live off-campus, inform a trusted neighbor of your belief that you are being stalked.  Give them a photo of the stalker and provide a description of the stalker’s vehicle.  Make sure that your neighbor has your cell phone number so that they can contact you before you return to your apartment if they see the stalker or the stalker’s vehicle in the area.