What is stalking?
While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.  Stalking is a crime under the laws of 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories, and the federal government.  Most Indian Nations also have anti-stalking provisions built into their tribal law. Read more about stalking laws here.

View RI Stalking Legislation

Who can be stalked?

Ordinary people can be stalked, not just celebrities.  Women experience stalking at higher rates than men, however, anyone can be a victim of stalking regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation. 

The overwhelming majority of stalking victims are women and the majority of stalkers are male. Visit the Stalking Resource Center, Stalking Statistics and Data information for current, detailed  prevelance data.

Victim/Offender Dynamics & Characteristics

  • Stalking can occur during a relationship, after a relationship, or in the absence of any relationship at all.  Stalking often overlaps with domestic violence and occurs to maintain power and control.  Stalking is closely linked to other forms of intimate partner violence.
  • Most targets on college campuses know their offenders in both DV and stalking cases
  • Pursuers and rejecters in stalking scenarios often have different perceptions of what crossing the line is
  • Offenders will often transition behaviors as the status of the relationship changes
  • Potential offenders often do not take responsibility for actions – victim blame

Common Stalking Indicators "Red Flags"

  • The offender begins to display stalking behaviors to include (but not limited to): excessive calling and texting; repeatedly checking-in; repeatedly showing up unannouncesd; repeatedly sending unwanted gifts, emails, etc.; threatening to hurt target; constantly checking in with friends or coworkers about whereabouts; uses technology to track and locate target (cyberstalking).
    While stalking behaviors vary in intensity, and no offender profile is exactly the same, the intention is to instill a sense of fear and maintain a dynamic of control over the target. 
  • Emotional attacks – incidents of aggression and violence begin to occur within the relationship
  • Victim/ target becomes increasingly withdrawn & is known to  frequently check in with offender
  • Offender begins to take on more power and control in the relationship

Common Barriers to Reporting

  • Fear of minimization; Fear of being “outed”
  • Men may be reluctant to report –reporting may undermine masculinity
  • Fear of not being taken seriously
  • Concern that social circles will become too complicated
  • Fear of retaliation

Steps Toward Intervention

  • Not sure if what you are dealing with constitutes stalking?  Not sure about what your reporting options are? Make an appointment with a law enforcement advocate at the Department of Public Safety for consultation and support.  Call (401)863-2542 to schedule an appointment.  This option does not require you to file a police report with DPS.
  • Any Brown community member who suspects that she or he is being stalked may report all contacts and incidents to the Department of Public Safety. For non-emergency reporting,  call (401)863-3322.  For emergency reporting, call (401)863-4111, or 4111, from any campus phone. Such a call to DPS will initiate immediate police response as well as follow-up from the DPS Investigations Unit and further support and safety planning services from the DPS Special Victims Unit.
  • If you are living, working or visiting Brown and you  receive a direct or indirect threat to your personal safety, promptly call the Brown Department of Public Safety, Emergency Line, at (401)863-4111.  For off-campus emergencies call 911.
  • Do not confront a stalker and never be alone with the individual. 
  • Document every incident in a personal log to include dates and times of phone calls, voicemails, e-mails, and other contacts. Save voicemails ande-mails as such can serve as significant pieces of evidence should your case enter the criminal justice system for any reason.
  • Tell someone. Reach out to a friend or a loved one for support.  

Getting Help

Brown Department of Public Safety

Threats should always be taken seriously.  If you or a friend is in danger, contact the police immediately. 

Emergency & Non-Emergency Police response is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (401)863-4111 or 4111 from any campus phone.  Off-campus emergencies requiring police assistance should be reported by dialing 911.

Also, the DPS Special Victims Unit at (401)863-2542 offers crime victim assistance and support concerning University and Providence Police reporting options. Services include safety planning, victim advocacy, court accompaniment and assistance with obtaining restraining orders. Department Detectives are also available to assist with reporting and facilitating communication with municipal police departments as necessary.  Seeking help from the Special Victims Unit does not require you to file a police report and services are available to faculty, staff and students.

Counseling and Psychological Services ( 401)863-3476
Clinicians provide confidential crisis support, follow-up appointments, and 24-hour on-call services for any Brown student dealing with stalking.  Located at J Walter Wilson, Room 516.

Office of Student Life/Administrator-on-Call (401) 863-3145 (after hours, 863-4111) 
The Administrator-on-Call will provide support to any student reporting concerns about stalking behavior. A student can choose to file a complaint in the non-academic discipline system if the complaint is against another student.

Brown Emergency Medical Services (EMS) (401)863-4111
Emergency response available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Rhode Island Victims of Crime Helpline: 24-Hour Support 1(800)494-8100
Emergency support services for victims of domestic violence and their families.  Services include information, advocacy and accompaniment to RI police stations and hospitals. 

Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance - SAFEPLAN
The SAFEPLAN civil court advocacy program operates in nine Massachusetts counties.  If you are a Massachusetts resident and need help immediately, find the domestic violence program or shelter nearest you by calling SAFELINK toll-free at 1-877-785-2020. For a referral to a SAFEPLAN Advocate, contact the host agency nearest you.