Stalking can happen in person or via social media or texting. It can be difficult to know what to do next if you are being stalked or someone shares with you their concerns about being stalked. Know that you are not alone.

What is stalking?

Stalking is unwanted, repeated and continuing contact that causes a person to feel uncomfortable, fearful or harassed. Stalking can be serious and sometimes violent, and it often escalates over time.

Stalkers can be students, co-workers, supervisors, current or former intimate partners, family members, acquaintances or strangers.

Stalking affects people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, social classes, ages and abilities.

Know the signs

Someone who’s being stalked may:

  • Avoid academic, workplace or social settings where they might interact with the stalker
  • Disengage from projects they were very involved in
  • Suddenly change their social media usage or online visibility
  • Suddenly change their routines
  • Inquire about who will be at an event
  • Try to set boundaries that are repeatedly not respected

Stalkers may:

  • Follow you and show up wherever you are
  • Not respect your boundaries
  • Send unwanted gifts, texts, calls, emails or social-media messages
  • Monitor your phone calls, texts, computer use or social-media accounts
  • Use technology like GPS or spyware apps to track where you go
  • Threaten to hurt you or your family, friends or pets
  • Contact friends, family, roommates, or co-workers to learn more about you
  • Post private information online or spread rumors about you

Supporting a friend or colleague

When someone’s being stalked, they may turn to someone they trust for support. Your response when a friend or colleague shares with you that they are being stalked will go a long way in helping them feel supported and may impact whether they choose to seek additional help. Please consider taking these steps when someone discloses to you:

  • Validate: Believe them and thank them for sharing with you.
  • Listen: Ask how you can help.
  • Connect: Share with them that there are resources on campus to support them.
  • Consult: Call SafeCampus to determine options or share safety concerns.
  • Self-care: Take care of yourself and be aware of your own feelings.

Confidential campus advocates

The University of Washington offers free confidential advocacy for students and employees affected by stalking and other related experiences. Advocates can help you learn about available resources, your rights and reporting options. They can support you in making a holistic plan for managing and reducing the impact of your experience.

Meeting with an advocate will not automatically trigger any kind of investigation by the University or the police.

Learn more about how an advocate can support you, and how to contact them, at the UW Sexual Assault Resources and Advocacy site.

Stalking & Title IX

Stalking may be a form of sexual misconduct and a violation of Title IX.

Protection orders

Please visit our protection orders page to learn what a protection order is and to consider whether you would like to seek one for yourself.