City of Alexandria, VA
Are You a Victim of Stalking?
In general terms, stalking is when a person becomes fearful of their safety because someone is repeatedly pursuing, harassing, and/or following them, which is unwanted and serving no legitimate purpose.
Legal Definition of Stalking (Virginia Code 18.2 - 60.3)
Class 1 misdemeanor: Not more than 12 months in jail and/or not more than $2,500 fine.
Class 6 felony: Not more than 5 years in the State penitentiary or up to 12 months in jail and not more than $2,500 fine.
Categories of Stalkers (taken from J. Reid Meloy)
Common Stalker Characteristics
If You Are Being Stalked
Collect evidence. But only when it’s safe and in accordance to state law. In Virginia, evidence could include taped phone conversations, photographs of your stalker in action, mail or other pieces of evidence left on your car, at your house, etc. Put evidence in a plastic bag and give it to your police investigator or keep it in a safe place.
Document everything. Use an Incident Log to record information such as witnesses’ names, exact dates, times, & locations, and what the stalker was doing, saying, wearing, etc. If a police report was filed, list the case number on the log as well.
Notify both law enforcement and your local domestic violence program. If you live in Alexandria, call the Police Department’s Domestic Violence Unit at (703) 706-3974 and the Alexandria Domestic Violence Program at (703) 746-4911. In cases of stranger stalking, please contact the police and the Alexandria Victim-Witness Assistance Program at (703) 746-4100. If you live outside the City of Alexandria, please refer to our resources page for help in your area.
Tell everyone - give friends, co-workers and neighbors a description of the stalker. Ask them to watch for the stalker, document everything listed above, and give a written account to you.
Notify the stalker to stop. This should be done in writing by you. Make a copy of this letter and keep it in a safe place for evidence. A sample "no contact" letter could look like this:
Press charges and obtain a protective order. Request warrants each time the stalker breaks the law. The stalker will likely be arrested, bonded, and released. Ask that a term of the bond be no contact with you. Ask for a protective order so the stalker cannot have any type of contact with you.
Keep all legal documents. Obtain and keep copies of warrants, protective orders, court orders, etc., in a safe place.
Check your credit for fraud or identity theft.
Develop a support system. Keep in touch with friends and family who are supportive and understanding. If you do not have an adequate support system, join a stalking support group, or talk to your local domestic violence program and/or victim witness assistance program.
Seek counseling, if needed. Being stalked can be very traumatic. You may begin to feel terror, rage, depression, and mistrust, among other symptoms. Watch out for symptoms such as changes in sleeping and/or eating patterns, exhaustion, and/or frequent crying spells, etc. Some stalking victims develop symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A counselor may be able to help alleviate or reduce these symptoms.
Know that you have done nothing to provoke the stalking. Stalking is never the victim’s fault and it is never ok. Stalker's are generally irrational with their thoughts and there may have been nothing you could have done to prevent the stalking behavior.
Stalking Protective Orders
What is a Stalking Protective Order?
A Stalking Protective Order is a civil order that can:
Who can get a Stalking Protective Order?
Please contact 703-746-4911 for more information about protective orders.
Kinds of Stalking Protective Orders (Three types)
How to get a Stalking Protective Order
Stalking Protective Orders are free. There is no charge for petitioning for a protective order, filing copies of a protective order, or having the order served on the abuser.
If you are an Alexandria resident or city employee:
If you reside outside the City of Alexandria:
Disclaimer: The Alexandria Office On Women presents the information on this website as a public service. While the information on this site is pertaining to legal issues, it is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney.
Support Services for Victims of Stalking
The Alexandria Domestic Violence Program offers many support services for victims of stalking. Please contact 703.746.4911 if you are interested in any of the services listed below:
24-hour hotline: 703.746.4911. Qualified staff and volunteers are available to assist those in crisis. If you are not an Alexandria resident, please contact your local domestic violence program or, the National Center for Victims of Crime at 1-800-FYI-CALL (Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m - 8:30 p.m. EST).
Stalking Survivor's Support Group: Runs twice a year for eight weeks. Topics discussed include power and control, anger, mistrust and recovery. Free to city residents and city government employees, minimal fee for out of city residents.
Individual Counseling: Short-term counseling is available to stalking victims.
Court Advocacy: An advocate from the Domestic Violence Program or Victim-Assistance Program will accompany you to court during all criminal proceedings and protective order hearings.
A Speakers’ Bureau is also available to provide presentations on issues pertaining to stalking as well as other issues relating to domestic violence.
Stalking & Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft? Identity theft is when someone steals your identity and then impersonates you to open bogus credit card accounts, rent apartments, and engage in criminal acts, among other things. Since the new accounts are given a “new” billing address, victims are often never aware that their identity has been stolen. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse estimates that there are between 500,000 to 700,000 identity theft victims each year in the United States and thanks to technology, the numbers are rapidly rising.
Identity theft is a common practice among stalkers, especially domestic-related stalkers, because they have easier access to your personal information, such as bank accounts, social security number, mother’s maiden name, and credit card account numbers.
If you suspect you may be a victim of identity theft, you may find the following information helpful (Compiled from all three credit bureaus):
Additional Resources on Stalking