Ways to Increase Your Personal Safety
A stalker may try to track you down at home, work, or other places. Here are some steps you can take to enhance your personal safety. Please keep in mind that these steps are not intended to replace you contacting the police. Above all, never agree to meet the person who is harassing you no matter how many times they say things like “if you’ll just meet me or do ‘x’, then I’ll go away and leave you alone”.
Keep Written Records
- If you haven’t kept notes, start now. Write down what you remember and ask others you trust to do the same.
- Write down the time, date and place of every contact or event with the stalker. Note what happened and how it made you feel, beginning with the first incident. Even if an event seems trivial, or unrelated, write it down as it may help to show a pattern of criminal harassment.
- Copy and save any messages left on your answering machine or voicemail and make notes of times when you answered the phone and the other person either hung‐up or didn’t speak.
- Keep your record book handy, make a copy of it, and keep the copy in a safe place outside of your home.
- Take pictures of any visual evidence.
- Keep any notes, letters or parcels sent by the stalker. Good records are very important for investigation.
- Communicate regularly with the police as you update your records.
- Tell friends, family, trusted co‐workers, employers, neighbours and service providers about what is happening to you. Ask them to write down any contact they may have with the stalker and to note the time, date, place and what happened. It may help to direct them to read this publication. Ask them to let you know if the person contacts them.
- If you’re getting child support through the Family Responsibility Office, tell your worker about your situation.
- Tell your children’s caregivers, school principal and teachers about your situation. If you have a photograph of the stalker, show it to them. Be clear and direct and ask them to help you stay safe. Ask them to keep all information about you private and to let you know if the stalker contacts them. Add their reports to your record book.
- Talk to your supervisor and co-workers. Your workplace may have programs to help deal with harassment. They may be able to screen calls or prevent delivery of unwanted parcels or mail. Ask them never to give out your personal information.
- Provide all relevant parties with a description of the person, the car, the licence plates and so on.
- Let all of these people know if you have a court order or peace bond and what conditions apply.
Protect Your Personal Information
- Take your name off your mailbox.
- Remove personal details from things you throw out or recycle.
- At work, remove your nameplate and other personal information, if possible.
- Be aware of where you are and who is close by when talking about family, social and travel plans. Someone could be listening.
- Avoid giving out your social insurance number in most circumstances. It is legally required only by banks and on employer tax forms.
- If you live in an apartment building, remove your name from the door‐buzzer, or use an alias if a name other than ‘occupant’ is required.
- Get a post office box. Put in a change of address card at the post‐office and notify all personal and professional contacts of your new postal box address. If you have a mail‐slot in your door, seal it closed. Make sure your name is not on anything that is delivered to your home.
- Remove your home address and telephone number from anywhere there’s a record, including:
- auto mechanic records
- business cards
- car registration
- children’s sports
- church/club records
- credit bureau
- credit card records
- dentist’s office
- doctor’s office
- driver’s licence
- dry cleaners
- Internet and social networking (e.g., Facebook, MySpace)
- land registry files
- medical records
- medical services plan
- personnel file at work
- recreation centre files
- utility bills
- voter records
You may be able to get your address removed from public records.
Getting Information, Help and Support
Information about your case if police are involved
- Check the status of your case by contacting the police.
- Be sure to use the police file number assigned to your case.
- Stay in touch with the police and the Crown prosecutor and let them know of any changes to your address or telephone number.
Community Resource List
Create your personal community resource list. In addition to the police, there are a variety of organizations that can offer support or helpful information.
Take Care of Yourself
Being the victim of stalking and harassment can leave a person feeling very vulnerable and experiencing a range of thoughts and emotions that can be difficult to know how to deal with. That is all normal for the circumstances. Please take care of yourself emotionally as well as physically to help minimize the constant stress stalking and harassment can create.