What is Stalking?

Stalking is behavior wherein an individual willfully and repeatedly engages in a knowing course of harassing conduct directed at another person, which reasonably and seriously alarms, torments, or terrorizes that person. Stalking involves one person's obsessive behavior toward another person. Initially, stalking will usually take the form of annoying, threatening, or obscene telephone calls, emails or letters. The calls may start with one or two a day but can quickly increase in frequency. Stalkers may conduct covert surveillance of the victim, following every move his/her target makes. Even the victim's home may be staked out. Virginia's anti-stalking laws may prevent some people from stalking, but this has not yet been proven. Many will stop after they have been arrested, prosecuted, and/or convicted. Unfortunately, laws do not stop most stalkers. Studies of stalkers indicate that they stop when their target is no longer available to them, or they find someone else to harass.