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Can stalking lead to domestic violence?

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2024 | FAMILY LAW - Domestic Violence

The hostility of a break-up can linger, but when unwanted contact escalates into a persistent pattern of fear and intimidation, it might be a sign of something more dangerous. Stalking can coincide with domestic violence, particularly in the context of estranged couples.

Data paints a concerning picture. Studies show that 81 percent of women stalked by a current or former husband or cohabitating partner experienced physical assault by that partner, while 74 percent reported their former partner’s violence and controlling nature during the relationship. This persistent, unwanted attention is more than just an annoyance; it is a red flag for future violence against women and men alike.

From frustration to fear

Stalking and harassment go hand-in-hand. A simple text and occasional calls may seem manageable, but if rejected or ignored, these can escalate and lead to unwanted visits to a person’s workplace or their home. Stalking comes in many forms, including:

  • Observing and following the victim
  • Tracking or monitoring the victim using GPS
  • Leaving unusual or endangering items for the victim to find (these may be letters, flowers or personal property)
  • Making unwanted calls, including desperate voice notes and hang-ups
  • Consistently sending emails and contacting the victim via social media messaging platforms

These actions can be unnerving and exemplify the classic progression of stalking. Initially, the stalker’s actions might seem like a misguided attempt to win their ex-partner back, but slowly, the stalker can gain control when the victim becomes terrified, vulnerable and feeling unsafe no matter where she is or who she is with.

Taking action for your safety

If you or someone you know is in fear because of someone stalking you, there are steps you can take to break this cycle of fear and regain your power.

  • Document everything: Keep a detailed record of all unwanted contact, including texts, voicemails, emails and social media messages. Note the time, date and content of each communication.
  • Report the stalking: File a police report and request a restraining order. Be persistent. Even if the initial attempt is unsuccessful, keep trying.
  • Tell someone about it: Do not be afraid to confide in friends, family or trusted colleagues. Let them know what is happening and create a network of support.
  • Seek professional: A therapist can help you develop coping mechanisms and navigate the emotional and psychological aspects of this situation.

Stalking is a serious crime, and resources are available to help you regain control and feel safe again.