Criminal harassment, more commonly known as STALKING, is a crime. Generally it consists of repeated conduct that is carried out over a period of time and which causes you to reasonably fear for your safety or the safety of someone known to you. Stalking does not have to result in physical injury in order to make it a crime. The law protects you even if the conduct of the stalker is not done with the intent to scare you. It is enough if the conduct does scare you. This may be an advance warning of the possibility of future violent acts.
Are you afraid for your safety or the safety of someone known to you because of the words or actions of another person?
If you can answer YES to any of these questions you or someone you know may be a victim of CRIMINAL HARASSMENT - STALKING.
You are NOT alone! Break the silence:
Maintain detailed notes about the stalking conduct. Dates, times, places, actions and threats are easier to explain and remember when written down.
Keep all recorded telephone messages, e-mails, gifts, letters or notes that have been sent by the individual. Keep a list of emergency numbers posted in several locations. Emergency numbers should include:
Pay attention to incidents that may seem coincidental. Are you suddenly running into this person more often? If you are not sure if you are being stalked contact the police.
Do NOT agree to have contact with a person who you think may be stalking you - contact the police. Each stalking situation is different. Consider that sometimes, when a stalker is confronted or meets with resistance, he/she may react with violence or the conduct may escalate.
Criminal harassment (stalking) is not an activity that is attributed to any one specific psychiatric diagnosis. There is no single profile of a stalker that exists. It appears that the main motivation for stalking another person is the desire to control, particularly in cases where the subject is a former partner.
Individuals who stalk may possess one or more various psychological conditions, from personality disorders to mental illness. Most individuals who stalk are engaging in obsessional behaviour. They have persistent thoughts and ideas concerning the object of their attentions. A stalker does not necessarily have a psychiatric disorder.
Simple Obsessional: The majority of these stalkers have been in some form of relationship with the victim. The contact may have been minimal, such as a blind date, but more commonly is a prolonged dating relationship, common law union or marriage. The perpetrator refuses to recognize that the relationship with the other person is over and the prevailing attitude is “if I can’t have her (or him) then no one else will.” A campaign of harassment, intimidation and psychological terror is mounted. The motivation for the harassment and stalking varies from revenge to the false belief that they can convince or coerce the victim back into the relationship.
Erotomanic: Is convinced that the object of his or her attention, usually of the opposite sex, fervently loves him or her and would return the affection if it were not for some external influence. The person about whom this conviction is held is usually of a higher status than the stalker but is often not a celebrity. It could be the supervisor at work, their child’s pediatrician, their church minister or the police officer who stopped them for a traffic violation but did not charge them. Sometimes it can be a complete stranger.
Love Obsessional: The stalker can be obsessed in his or her “love” without possessing the belief that the victim loves him or her. Very often the love obsessional stalker suffers from a major psychiatric illness such as schizophrenia or mania and wants to “win over” the love of his or her victim.
Another recognized but not well studied group of stalkers are those who stalk as a component to their paraphiliac (sexually deviant) focus. Some rapists and pedophiles have stalked because it is incorporated in their sexually deviant fantasies. Some sexual sadist will go through “behavioural try-outs” that will include stalking.
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*Source: Federal Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Criminal Harassment. “A Handbook for Police and Crown Prosecutors on Criminal Harassment,” 1999, Ottawa, Dept. of Justice Canada.
© 2012 HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA
as represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Cat. no.: PS64-19/2012