Family Violence Unit - Stalking / Workplace Tips
The Houston Police Department cares about you and your safety.
If you are in immediate danger dial 9-1-1. If you are in the city limits of Houston and are in need a non-emergency police response dial (713)-884-3131.
For additional information, please contact the Family Violence Unit at (713)-308-1100.
The United States Department of Justice defines stalking as "engaging in a course a course of conduct directed as a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for (their) safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress." Stalking often encompasses unwanted, repeated behaviors that are intended to surveil, monitor, threaten, and ultimately scare someone.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men in the United States reported stalking victimization at some point in their lifetime, during which they felt fearful, threatened, or concern for the safety of themselves or other. Female stalking victims most often received unwanted phone calls and were approached, followed, and watched. Male stalking victims most often received unwanted phone calls, text, photos, emails, and social media messages and were approached. (The National Intimate Partner & Sexual Violence Survey 2016/2017 Report on Stalking-Updated Release-April 2022)
Stalking increases the risk of intimate partner homicide by three times. (Spencer, C.M.& Stith, SM. (2018) Risk Factors for Male Perpetration and Female Victimization of Intimate Partner Homicide: A Meta Analysis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 21(3):527-540.)
Texas Penal Code 42.072. Stalking and Cyberstalking is a crime.
Stalking occurs when someone repeatedly harasses or threatens someone else, causing fear or safety concerns by someone the victim knows or with whom they had an intimate relationship.
Texas' Electronic Communications Act of 2001 prohibits cyberstalking, cyber harassment and other forms of online abuse or harassment.
Below are suggested ways to handle the crime of stalking by an estranged partner:
Be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if the person stalking you has a history of assaulting you in the past. The most dangerous time may not be staying in a violent relationship, but in leaving the violent relationship.
Always watch to see if you are being followed. If you are being followed, go to the nearest police substation. Fire stations and convenience stores are also staffed 24 hours a day and will usually have people around.
Tell people you trust about the situation. See if your school, workplace, or building security can help with your safety plans.
The stalking is not your fault, and you cannot control the stalker's behaviors.
Make reports to the police, even if you don't prosecute. This will provide documentation for pursuing criminal charges later if the harassment and stalking continue. There must be two police reports before stalking charges can be filed.
Keep evidence of stalking. Document everything that happens-keep a record or log. Record your telephone conversations. Keep all harassing messages left on your answering machine/voice mail. Keep all texts, emails, or messages for documentation.
End all contact. Any contact may encourage the stalker to continue the stalking behavior.
Maintain privacy. Maintain an unlisted number.
After a divorce consider a co-parenting app that records all interactions related to communication regarding the children.
Consider getting a protective order that tells the stalker to stay away from you.
Create a safety plan. Connect with a local domestic violence service provider who can help you explore options and make a safety plan.
Stalking Tips at the Workplace
According to a survey by the National Safe Workplace Institute, 94% of surveyed corporate security and safety directors rank domestic violence as a high security problem.
- Alert your employer and fellow employees of your concerns. Notify the building security at your employment. Have your co-workers screen calls and visitors.
- If there are building security officers where you work or live, show them a photo of the individual stalking you, and relay your concerns to them.
- Remove your home address on personal checks and business cards. Use a postal box.
- Never divulge details about your personal life or activities to someone you have just met, or do not know.
- Document all activity reported to your from within or outside your organization.
- Make timely reports to your local law enforcement agency.
- Establish or reinforce security measures for your employees or organization.
- Your safety and the safety of your employees is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly when incidents of harassment and threats are reported.
- Never divulge details about your personal life or that of your employees to others, even to former co-workers.
The Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center
Stalking Incident and Behavior Log
National Network to End Domestic Violence–Technology Safety-On Line Toolkit
Safety Net Project, part of NNEDV
Directory of Crime Victim Services
Office for Victims of Crime
Office of Justice Programs
U.S. Department of Justice
National Domestic Violence Hotline