Stalking is a pattern of unwanted behavior, directed at a specific person which is causing that person to feel afraid, nervous, in danger, and/or change their routine. Stalking may cause fear, annoyance or anger in the person who is being stalked and cause the person impacted to change the routine or behavior. Sometimes the person that is being stalked may minimize the situation, though bystanders may see it as dangerous or concerning. Stalking can occur in and out of relationships, between acquaintances or complete strangers.
Examples of stalking behaviors
- information gathering from friends, internet, professors.
- repeated non-threatening mail, email, pages and phone calls.
- notes or flowers left on a car.
- observing/following and “coincidentally” showing up wherever the person goes.
- waiting outside class, work or next to the person’s car.
- false reports to authorities, spreading rumors, giving misinformation or secrets to friends, family, professors, or supervisors.
- disparaging messages or images on the web, discussion groups.
- vandalism or destruction of property, sabotage of schoolwork.
- threatening mail, email, notes, text messages and/or phone calls (threats direct, implied or symbolic).
- breaking into home, car, email, social media, etc. and sometimes leaving evidence of the break in or hack.
Stalking behaviors by themselves may or may not be illegal. For example one incident of leaving someone a gift or sending a text after they have indicated they do not want to be contacted. However, context of the behavior and he impact these behaviors are having on a person is key. What matters is that there is a set of behaviors which can have an impact on an individual or a group of people. The person who is following, watching, or harassing may have various different motives, but the impact on the person being stalked is the most important aspect of assessing the situation. Are you or a friend changing your life to avoid or contend with harassment/unwanted contact, being followed, or unwanted emails? Regardless of how it happens support and resources are available.
Explore your options
For content-specific information about reporting see below. For general information about reporting and the possibilities of working with systems visit our reporting page or visit OIEC's Don't Ignore It website.
There are several levels of intervention that can help in dealing with persistent unwanted behavior and reporting to the police is one option. Reporting to the police can take many forms and doesn’t have to lead to the filing of criminal charges. Some victims simply want to file an “informational” report with the intention of making the police aware of their situation, but without pursuing charges. Other people are interested in having the police contact the person and give a verbal warning. At the same time, many people choose to file criminal charges.This might include getting names of witnesses, saving emails, text messages or voice messages related to the incident as well as taking pictures of injuries, damage, graffiti or supporting materials. You can also get copies of relevant medical records. If an arrest is made and you would like to be notified when the perpetrator/suspect is released from jail please sign up for Vine notifications. OVA can talk with you about reporting options and be an advocate for you throughout the process.
Please note: if you are currently in or had a previous dating relationship with the person who is stalking you, the police may classify it as intimate partner violence and if so, would need to make an arrest due to the Colorado mandatory arrest law in cases of domestic violence/ intimate partner abuse.
Reporting to CU's Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance
If you have experienced stalking by a CU student, faculty, or staff you can report to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC). OIEC can address concerns through a formal investigation or an informal process (which does not include an investigation but focuses on intervention to stop the behavior). In cases of a finding of a policy violation OIEC will put sanctions in place through the university. OIEC’s process is separate from the criminal justice system and is administrative through the university. In some cases OIEC may need to make a limited report to the police. In addition to conducting investigations, OIEC can also provide interim and remedial measures including no contact orders, academic remedial measures, and more. Click here to learn more about OIEC's process and procedures.
To file a report you can contact OIEC directly at 303-492-2127, complete an online OIEC report, or work with the Office of Victim Assistance to provide advocacy in the reporting process. If you are unsure about reporting, please contact OVA and we can talk through the OIEC process with you confidentially to assist you in your decision making process.
Confidential Reporting to the Office of Victim Assistance
Click here to make a confidential report to the Office of Victim Assistance (OVA). This report will only be seen by a confidential advocate counselor at OVA. This report does not notify the university and no investigative action will be taken. If you would like an OVA confidential advocate counselor to contact you please include your contact information and an OVA confidential advocate counselor will outreach to you directly. OVA is here to be a resource to you.
If you are concerned that you are being stalked, it may be useful to talk with someone who is knowledgeable about the issue. Click here for more information on the wide range of impacts someone may experience related to stalking. Practicing self care, taking care of basic needs ( eating, sleeping, staying hydrated, exercise) and reaching out for support can make a difference. Informal support such as friends, family, and colleagues can be a great resource. In addition,OVA is free and confidential and here to be a resource for counseling support, advocacy, informing one of their rights and options, safety planning. and providing information, referrals, and consultation on additional campus and community resources.
Some things you might discuss when meeting with OVA include:
- figuring out what you feel and think about what’s going on.
- getting information that will help you assess the situation, and figure out what you want.
- discussing your rights and reporting options.
- how to manage your academics, or work given your relationship.
- making a safety plan. There are many strategies available.
- getting medical treatment if you have injuries or are worried about your health.
- changing where you live to get some space, or safety.
- keep track of/log what is happening.
- discussing self-care and coping skills.
*If seeking support from a CU community member in a supervisory role, ask if they are a Responsible Employee and if they have any limits to keeping the information you are sharing with them private. If you wish to not have the information shared with the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance consider reaching out to a confidential resource such as OVA.
If you your current housing situation is no longer safe or comfortable, OVA can discuss options for a change of housing.There may also be the option to move the alleged perpetrator if they live in CU housing with assistance from OIEC and OVA.
If you are worried about how this situation may be impacting your schoolwork, OVA is here to help. You deserve to be in school and to meet your goals. The OVA can discuss options for managing academic issues while maintaining privacy. There are concrete things the University can do to help with your situation.
A protection order is a legal document obtained through the courts that puts restrictions on individuals who may be dangerous to you. If they violate these restrictions they can be sanctioned by the court. If you have questions about obtaining a protection order you can talk to a confidential OVA advocate counselor, call the Boulder Protective Order Clinic at 303-441-4867, contact Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence, or go to the Colorado Judicial Branch Protection Order website.