700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Stalking and Harassment: What to Do If Your Child Is Being Threatened

Aug 16, 2018
image of boy holding a cell phone with the text that says young love or stalking where's the line

What does the word “stalking,” mean to you? Is it a stranger following you down the street, photographers who follow celebrities or someone who won’t leave you alone online? Many times, we hear young adults say that they “Facebook stalked” someone, which simply means they looked through someone’s profile and photos for certain information. This is meant in a joking manner, but stalking is a scary and real thing. It happens more often to young adults, and is becoming easier with modern day technology.

Stalking is a repeated pattern of behavior that includes following, watching or harassing a specific person. It occurs over a period of time and could be defined as threatening behavior. Most importantly, stalking is a crime.

Stalking Facts

  • Women are stalked at a rate two times higher than men.
  • Over 85 percent of stalking victims are stalked by someone they know, (many times it is a current or former intimate partner).
  • In the U.S., 7.5 million people are stalked each year.
  • Young adults ages 18-24 experience the highest rates of stalking.

What Can You Do?

If you feel like you or your child are being stalked:

  • Document it. Whether it’s happened twice or 20 times, jot down the incidents and note the date, time, location and any other details that you remember.
  • Contact your local police department or stalking unit to report it. Having documented proof of the stalking could assist you in receiving a protection order. A legal advocate will be available to help you through the court process.
  • Notify a friend, family member, employer or any other organization with whom you are involved.
  • Contact a local agency, such as The Center for Family Safety and Healing, to get help in creating a personalized safety plan.
  • If you feel you’re in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Get a protection order. Contact your local prosecutor’s office for information on the process for filing.

Technology Tips

  • Download free personal safety apps to your smart phone – these can alert selected contacts when you are safe or when you feel you’re in danger.
  • If you believe your stalker is tracking you by smart phone, go to your Privacy Settings and turn off Location Services. Location Services lists where you’ve been down to the date, address and arrival/departure times over the last 30-60 days.
  • Reset your online account passwords every other month.
  • Don’t post photos or videos to your social media accounts that show your exact location at that point in time.

For more information, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime or The Center for Family Safety and Healing. On social media, use hashtags #StalkingAwarenessMonth and #EndStalking to help us raise awareness.

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Featured Expert

NCH Blog Author
Tamara Mapp
The Center for Family Safety and Healing

Tamara Mapp is the Director of Program Development and Implementation at The Center for Family Safety and Healing (TCFSH). She oversees staff members for home visitation, child assessment center, fostering connections and adult services. She also provides administrative support to behavioral health and research at TCFSH. Tamara is also responsible for various grants and programs that support the work of the organization. 

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.