A woman you barely know from work suddenly runs into your office. She has a look of terror written all over her face and is hysterically crying.  As you try to come to grips why you are experiencing this, you then recall her attendance at work has lately been spotty.  The woman tells you that her “ex” is out in parking lot waiting by her car.

A man at your work has been experiencing a variety of strange occurrences.  The strange and sometimes bizarre events have ranged from the man receiving flowers, cards and gifts from an anonymous someone delivered at his work to an unknown person damaging his vehicle.

And yet in another situation, an employee who reports to you has told you in a confidential meeting that she and her significant other have recently split up and that she continues to receive threatening text messages on her cell phone and numerous late night telephone calls where the caller just hangs up.

All of these situations can be behaviors exhibited by a person who is being stalked.  Stalking is a crime and is best defined by a person who by their course of conduct causes another person to be frightened, threatened and harassed.

There are several classifications the classic stalker will fit into.  The “Simple Obsessional” stalker is a person who has had some type of prior relationship with the victim of the stalking.  Their relationship is typically of a marriage or other romantic endeavor and once the relationship ends, one person cannot accept the breakup and launches a campaign (course of conduct) to make repeated contacts to the victim.

Another classification of stalking is “Love Obsessional.”  In this case, the victim and the stalking have had no prior relationship and the victim is typically unaware of the stalker’s obsession with them.  This type of stalker is delusional and believes their victim will reciprocate in their feelings towards them.  Victims of this stalker have received cards, letters, gifts, etc. typically from an anonymous source.

In all cases where a person is the victim of a stalker, the victim should report the crime to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction of the crime.  If the victim has been receiving those “contacts” at work which may be in one city but lives in another city, the report needs to be made in the city where the “contacts” are occurring.  The victim should keep a detailed diary of each contact and update law enforcement after each contact.  Any and all items that could be viewed as evidence (cards, letter, presents, etc.) should be surrendered to law enforcement. The stalker and the contacts may last for a long period of time from months to years, or the stalker may change from their obsession on them to fixating on a totally different person.

If the stalker’s identity is known the stalker may be deterred by law enforcement and the criminal justice consequences of their actions.  Obtaining a temporary protection order is an option providing legal authority to keep the stalker away from your work, places of recreation and potentially your home.   If your stalker does not know where you live, “assume” they will eventually discover your address.  In some cases, stalkers have attacked and killed their victim. Be ready for such an encounter and prepared to defend yourself!

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