How to help friends or family members

How to help friends or family members


Helpful Actions

  • Believe your friends or family members.
  • Thank your friends or family members for sharing this information, and let them know you care about their wellbeing.
  • Encourage your friends or family members to call 911 or campus police if they feel they are in immediate danger
  • Help your friends or family members to identify campus and community resources such as the Women's Center, Counseling Center, local police, the Women's and Children's Alliance, and FACES.
  • Encourage them to develop a safety plan.
  • Encourage your friends or family members to keep evidence or document unwanted or intimidating behaviors or contact.

    Often legal cases are built based on documentation completed by a victim. Stalking documentation kits are available at the Women's Center.

  • Encourage your friends or family members to notify friends, family, roommates, and co-workers about the stalker and to ask them to help watch out for their safety.

    Respect your friends or family members' decisions about who to share this information with; do not share this information with your friends or family members' permission.

  • Refrain from revealing any information about them to the stalker. Know that stalkers may attempt to collect information from a third party (you) in order to harm or continue stalking your friends or family members.

    This information-seeking behavior may be especially present when your friends or family members have cut off contact or made changes to their phone numbers, places of employment, or routines.

Unhelpful Actions

  • Dismissing or minimizing the seriousness of this crime victims often legitimately fear for their life and do not feel safe to complete daily activities or even sleep.
  • Blaming your friends or family members--perpetrators, NOT victims, are responsible for their crimes.
  • Breaking confidence of your friends or family members to tell others about the crime--they should always have the right to tell who they choose.
  • Advising your friends or family members--they are most familiar with the stalker's behavior and they may have the ability to most accurately assess what might escalate the stalker's behavior.

How to Help Yourself

Every stalker is different, so there is no single solution. However, there are some general guidelines:

  • Trust your instincts about a situation and take threats seriously.
  • Take precautions to ensure your safety.
  • Consider cutting off contact with the stalker, including refraining from emails, text messages, phone calls, and third-party communication — even if it seems like it might be a way to convince the stalker to stop. Continued contact may encourage a stalker to keep stalking.
  • Stalking is sometimes viewed as a series of non-criminal offenses which collectively constitutes a crime. For this reason, it is important to document and report all of the stalker's harassing actions or attempts to contact or monitor you. This includes any voicemails, e-mails, text messages, letters, gifts, sightings, or attempts to contact or give messages to you through another person.
  • Consider informing roommates, co-workers, or supervisors of the situation so they may be supportive and help keep you safe by notifying you or the police if the stalker contacts them.
  • Consider reporting to the police.