Stalking Victim Advisory
AWARE is a group of individuals from various disciplines who have experience in evaluating and managing stalking cases, and providing information about increasing personal safety. We provide assistance to victims of stalking (and those who wish to help them) in the areas of threat assessment and safety options.
If you are the victim of stalking or other forms of threat, it is important that you understand the following:
- It is impossible to predict whether a stalker will act out violently towards a victim. There are certain "red flags" which may suggest an increased potential for violence, but the presence or absence of these factors does not necessarily predict actual violence.
- AWARE cannot protect you from violence from your stalker. While we may offer advice and assistance regarding safety options, the primary responsibility for your safety rests with you. We may provide you with a list of various security recommendations that you may want to consider. We may recommend that certain safety precautions be taken, but the decision is yours.
- While stalking is a crime in every state, we cannot guarantee that your stalker will be prosecuted, or that if s/he is prosecuted, that s/he will remain in custody. Stalking is a difficult crime to prove, and generally requires independent proof of harassment and credible threat. Sometimes prosecution may even make the problem worse by increasing the stalker's anger toward you. The fact that the stalker is being prosecuted or is in custody does not necessarily mean you are safe. You must continue to be vigilant about your safety.
- Stalking is a problem for which there are no easy answers or solutions. It is also a problem that may be long term. It may require you to make significant changes in your life or lifestyle in order to increase your safety. We cannot guarantee that whatever changes you make will stop the stalking.
- If you decide to obtain a restraining order, you should know that the restraining order will not necessarily protect you. Sometimes restraining orders actually incite the stalker to act out violently. This is a time to be especially careful about your safety.
- If you are in immediate danger from your stalker, call 911. It is recommended that you carry a cell phone with you at all times from that purpose. No one from AWARE is able to respond to emergency calls, so contacting the police first, and immediately, is important.