Stalking


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According to the Center's for Disease Control and Prevention an estimated 15% of women and 6% of men have been the victim of stalking at some point in their lives. Victims reported being stalked by current and former intimate partners, acquaintances, strangers, family members, and persons of authority.

Many individuals have the misconception that stalking is more annoyance than a crime - they're mistaken. Stalking is more than a nuisance. It is a crime that is a serious threat to personal safety. Episodes may last for years, escalate without intervention, and result in significant emotional, physical, and financial hardship. When violence is involved, stalking often results in lethal acts.

That said, federal and state laws and CSU/Cal State LA policies prohibit stalking, as well as dating and domestic violence, sexual violence, and other forms of misconduct. This prohibition applies to students, employees, and others; as well as to conduct both on and off-campus. Perpetrators can be subject to campus sanctions such as suspension, expulsion, and employment termination; as well as arrest, criminal prosecution, restitution, and civil justice. Victims and survivors have numerous rights granted by federal and state laws (see Survivors' Rights). Additionally, sexually motivated stalking is also considered to be a Title IX violation.

Criminal Stalking

Stalking Defined

Criminal stalking is defined by California Penal Code §646.9. It states “Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety, or the safety of his or her immediate family is guilty of the crime of stalking.”

Associated Crimes

Stalking cases can involve additional crimes and threatening behaviors, including: identity theft; terrorism or criminal threats; vandalism; disclosing personal information about the victim to others; domestic violence; sexual assault; violation of protective/restraining orders; kidnapping; and murder.

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Stalking as Defined by CSU Policies

CSU Executive Order 1096     |     CSU Executive Order 1097

The CSU prohibits stalking. Stalking is often based on gender. CSU prohibits all such misconduct whether or not it is based on gender.

Stalking means engaging in a repeated course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her or others’ safety or to suffer substantial emotional distress. For purposes of this definition:

  1. Course of Conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through Third Parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property;
  1. Reasonable Person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with the same Protected Status(es) as the Complainant;
  1. Substantial Emotional Distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

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Stalking Warning Signs

Stalking may comprise a variety of behaviors. Common warning signs include these red flags identified by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office:

  • Threatening to harm or kill the victim or the victim’s family, friends or pets.
  • Repeatedly following the victim to his/her home, job, gym, school or other places.
  • Repeatedly calling the victim at home or at work.
  • Repeatedly sending the victim unwanted letters, faxes, emails, text messages or voice mails.
  • Sending the victim unwanted gifts or items, including menacing things such as dead flowers, torn-up photos, disfigured dolls or dead animals.
  • Repeatedly waiting outside the victim’s home or workplace for no legitimate reason.
  • Showing up uninvited at places or events where the victim is present.
  • Vandalizing or breaking into the victim’s car, home or other property.
  • Stealing the victim’s mail or monitoring the victim’s voice mail or email messages.
  • Utilizing online information sources or electronic devices such as GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment to track or monitor the victim’s activities.
  • Posting harassing information about the victim on the Internet, in chat rooms or other public places.

In addition to examples listed above, warning signs of cyberstalking include stalkers going online to: use social media to threaten their victims; use spyware to monitor their victim's computer activity (e.g., email, passwords); pretending to be their victim in chat rooms; forging damaging emails to victim's family, friends or co-workers; and other harassing behaviors.

Any escalation of stalking behaviors is cause for concern and steps should be taken to protect victim safety, including reporting incidents to law enforcement, Cal State LA Title IX Coordinator or campus security authorities, and calling 911 if there is a threat of imminent danger.

For a closer look at one possible stalking scenario, take a look at Stalking 1 by Student Success:

Stalking I

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Stalking and Title IX

Title IX of the Education amendments of 1972 prohibits denying or limiting, on the basis of sex, a student's ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in a school's programs. Title IX protects all students — female, male, transgendered, gender non-conforming, gay, lesbian, bisexual... — in all of the academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs or activities of schools. Title IX also prohibits and requires protection against retaliation.

Title IX violations occur when conduct is "sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the program"  — e.g., anxiety or depression; dropping out of a student organization, leaving a team, or declining class participation in an effort to avoid harassment. Title IX violations include:

  • Sexually motivated stalking: In its guidance document Sexual Harassment: It's Not Academic, the U.S. Department of Education states — "Sexual harassment includes conduct that is criminal in nature, such as rape, sexual assault, dating violence, and sexually motivated stalking. Even if a school reports possible criminal conduct to the police, that does not relieve the school of its responsibilities under Title IX..."
  • Sexual harassment: Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
    • Decisions or benefits based on submission to unwelcome sexual conduct — e.g., course grade, position on a team, membership in an organization, and a positive performance appraisal.
    • Hostile environment — e.g., sexual gestures, sexual jokes, name calling, showing sexual images or content, spreading sexual rumors.
  • Gender-based harassment: Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
    • E.g., harassing, threatening or assaulting a student because she or he isn't "woman" or "man" enough.

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Additional Information and Resources | References

See Project SAFE's Resources and:

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References

  • Black, M.C., Basile, K.C., Breiding, M.J., Smith, S.G., Walters, M.L., Merrick, M.T., Chen, J., & Stevens, M.R. (2011). National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/.
  • Breiding, M., Smith, S., Basile, K., Walters, M., Chen, J., and Merrick, M. (2014). Prevalence and characteristics of sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization—national intimate partner and sexual violence survey, United States, 2011. MMWR 2014;63(SS-8). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6308.pdf
  • City of Beverly Police Department (no date). Cyberstalking. City of Beverly Massachusetts. Retrieved from http://www.beverlypd.org

TOP  |  Help 24/7 ►  |  National Domestic Violence Hotline  |  National Sexual Assault Hotline  |  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  |  National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline  |  Safe Helpline - Sexual Assault Support for the DoD Community  |  The Trevor Project Helpline for LGBT Youth (Ages 13-24)  |

TOP  | Help 24/7 ►  |  National Domestic Violence Hotline  |  National Sexual Assault Hotline  |  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline  |  National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline  |  Safe Helpline - Sexual Assault Support for the DoD Community  |  The Trevor Project Helpline for LGBT Youth (Ages 13-24)  |