Anyone can become a victim of stalking. Some victims find themselves being stalked when they end a relationship, or when they have declined starting a relationship, while other victims may be stalked by a stranger or acquaintance. The stalker may live in the victim’s neighborhood, may deliver supplies to the victim’s work place or be a stranger to the victim. A stalker can be a man or a woman.
Many stalking victims feel as if their life is out of their control; experiencing denial, anger, confusion, fear, anxiety, frustration, depression, self-blame, helplessness and hopelessness. Victims lose their sense of safety and often their support network. Some victims relocate or change jobs in an effort to distance themselves from the stalker. Some victims will refrain from associating with family and friends because the victim is afraid of placing them at risk. Victims may find their family and friends are distancing themselves from them, out of fear of being harmed by the Stalker.
As a victim it is important to know that it is not your fault.
This web page is intended to provide stalking victims with information, referrals and suggestions that may be useful. This web page cannot insure your safety. As the victim, you are the best person to decide what steps, if any, to take toward safety.
If you would like more information or assistance, please contact the Marion County Victim Assistance Division at 503-588-5253 or toll free at 1-866-780-0960.
What is the Legal Definition of Stalking?
Stalking is generally experiencing unwanted and repeated contacts (2 or more) that would alarm or coerce you, causing apprehension or fear for you and/or your immediate family or household safety.
Contact means: coming within your physical presence or within your sight, following you, waiting outside your home, work, school or the homes of your family members.
Contact also can be receiving unwanted telephone calls, communication like letters or electronic communications, messages that are sent to you through a third party, including having flowers or gifts delivered to you.
Contact also includes any communication that is intended to affect your relationships with friends, neighbors, employer and/or your rights or interest with a business or a government agency.
Protection Orders for Stalking Victims
Victims in Marion County can contact their local law enforcement agency and request a Stalking Order Complaint. The police officer will issue a stalking citation if the officer finds “probable cause” based on the information that you give. An officer must then personally serve the citation on the stalker and will specify a court date in which the stalker must appear. Usually the court date will be scheduled for 3 days from the day it was served. As the complainant you must also appear and testify. To request appearance by telephone, you may call 503-588-5105, however the judge may deny your request. Because you must also appear, please ask the police officer how you will be informed of the court date and time. If you do not appear either in person or by telephone, the Stalking Order Complaint may be dismissed.
At the hearing the judge will decide if a Stalking Protection Order will be given. You may want to bring any notes regarding dates and times of unwanted contacts and documentation such as, photos of injuries or property damage, police reports and/or any witnesses.
A Stalking Protection Order issued by a judge may be permanent and is enforceable in any county in Oregon. Also, Marion County’s Stalking Protection Order comply with the Full Faith and Credit Act, which makes them enforceable in all 50 states, Indian tribal lands, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Island and Guam. However, enforcement requirements depend on the laws in each jurisdiction. Carry a copy of the protection order on you at all times and if the stalker violates the order, you will need to report it to your local law enforcement agency.
Also, in Marion County, stalking victims may be eligible for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) if you have or have had a relationship with the Stalker, such as marriage, cohabiting, related to you by blood or marriage or a sexually intimate relationship. This would include a victim who has been sexually abused by the stalker. Please note the relationship must have occurred within the last two years before requesting the TRO.
Commonly Asked Questions
What if you and the Stalker live in different counties?
You would need to request a Stalking Order Complaint from the law enforcement agency where the stalking occurred.
How will the Stalking Protection Order be enforced if I move out of Marion County?
Contact the local women’s crisis service or victim advocate program. Ask about the jurisdiction’s enforcement laws.
Can a child request a Stalking Protection Order?
A parent/guardian may request a stalking protection order on behalf of their child.
If the stalker is a minor (less than 18 years old) can I request a Stalking Protection Order?
* Learn about stalking and the options available to stalking victims. Contact your local women’s crisis service or victim advocate program. It is important to know the pros and cons and the proper ways to implement any of the available options for stalking victims. An inadequate safety plan or obtaining a protection order can place a victim in danger.
* Keep a journal of when the stalker contacts you, where, when and what the stalker said or did. Keep anything that the stalker gives/sends to you: cards, letters, gifts and any recorded phone calls or messages. You may want to use them as evidence of the stalking.
* Tell trusted family, friends, neighbors and your employer that you are being stalked. Provide them with a picture/description of the stalker and any information you may have on the stalker. If you have children, provide the same information to the children’s school or day care.
* Have a safety plan for yourself and members of your household. A safety plan should consist of an emergency exit from the home, a bag containing money, cloths, keys, legal paper work, cell phone, medications etc., and a safe location to go to with 24-hour access. Contact your local women’s crisis service or victim advocate program if you would like assistance in preparing a safety plan.
* If the stalker has your telephone number, do not change it. Have an answering machine screen your calls or add another line with a new number. You may want to order a new telephone number under a common name alias. This could make associating the new number to you more difficult. Connect an answering machine to the old number and only allow the answering machine to answer. The recording may be used as evidence of the stalking. Give your new number to only the people you trust, with instructions to not give it out and to not place/list the new number where other people could access it.
* Do not have any contact with the stalker. If there is contact, try not to express any emotions, such as fear or anger. Also, do not have any relatives or friends confront the stalker. The stalker may perceive them as an obstacle in gaining access to you, which could make them a target.
* Change your routine. A daily routine can make it easy for a stalker to find you. If possible, change your work/school hours, places that you frequent, such as: where you shop, attend church, bank, exercise or attend social activities.
* Contact your local Victim Assistance Program or local women’s program and ask about the Address Confidentiality Program.
* Contact agencies, such as the Department of Motor Vehicle, voters’ registrar office, utility companies, and mail order houses. Ask to have your information listed as confidential. Or instead of using your physical address, use a P.O. box and list the box number as an apartment or suite. Send a change-of-address to everyone including family and friends.
* Install an alarm system and/or buy a dog. A dog can be an effective alarm system. You may want to consider a breed that is known particularly for its loyalty.
Marion County Victim Assistance Division 503-588-5253 1-866-780-0960 Toll FreeMid-Valley Women’s Crisis Service 503-399-7722 24-hr. Hotline 1-866-399-7722 Toll Free 24-hr. Hotline 503-378-1572 Office
National Victim Center (NVC) 1-800-394-2255 (on EST)
National Center for Victims of Crime 1-800-FYI-Call Website http://www.ncvc.org/
The Stalking Victims’ Sanctuary Website http://www.stalkingvictims.com/