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.

To learn more about supporting a friend or colleague, visit UW How to Help a Friend.

UW resources and confidential 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 Title IX, additional resources and how an advocate can support you at the UW Sexual Assault Resources and Advocacy site.

If you are aware of stalking

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

All UW staff, faculty, and students, as well as members of the public, are encouraged to share concerns related to stalking and other forms of sex- and gender-based violence and harassment through the online Title IX reporting form. When you make a report you will be connected with a Title IX Case Manager.

Learn more about who is required to report and who is encouraged to support on the employee reporting expectations page.

If you are a student and wondering how to support a friend, roommate, or peer please visit UW How to Help a Friend or call SafeCampus for support.

Reporting Options

Before requesting an investigation, you may wish to speak to a confidential advocate. A confidential advocate can help you consider your reporting options and explain what to expect if you decide to submit a formal complaint to the University of Washington. Advocates can also explain and help facilitate supportive measures and other resources. Visit the Title IX Support & Help page for more information.

The University of Washington has several designated offices responsible for responding to, investigating, and resolving complaints. Please visit the Title IX Reporting Options page to learn more.

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.