Stalking and Harassment

If you feel like your a victim of stalking or harassment or need help, call our hotline at (800) 688-6157. Our advocates are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your call is confidential. 

What is Stalking? 

Stalking is defined as a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. (SPARC) In addition to federal stalking statutes, all states and U.S. territories have laws to address stalking. 

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What is Harassment?

Harassment is broadly defined as "willful conduct directed at a specific person or persons which would cause a reasonable person mental injury or emotional distress."

Under the definition of stalking, are many behaviors that stalkers can use to intimidate their targets and cause them to suffer fear and distress, including but not limited to harassment. However, the West Virginia law pertaining to stalking (WVC §61-2-9a) addresses harassment as a crime separate from stalking.

The Crimes of 
Stalking and Harassment

 It is the cumulative pattern of behaviors that forms the "course of conduct" that can cause the targeted individual to be afraid and distressed. For example, a single e-mail or bouquet of flowers may not be frightening, but 150 e-mails, bouquets of dead flowers, and late-night threatening calls become something that cannot and should not be ignored.

Crime of Stalking

To be charged with the crime of stalking, someone must repeatedly (on two or more occasions) follow another person "knowing or having reason to know that the conduct causes the person followed to reasonably fear for his or her safety or suffer significant emotional distress."

Crime of Harassment

To be charged with the crime of harassment, someone must repeatedly (two or more times) harass or make credible threats against another person.  A credible threat is defined as "a threat of bodily injury made with the apparent ability to carry out the threat and with the result that a reasonable person would believe that the threat could be carried out."

Behaviors of Stalking and Harassment

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According to West Virginia law, stalking is clearly identifiable as repeatedly following another person. But, unlike other crimes such as speeding and murder, there is no "master list" of behaviors that constitute harassment. Harassment is defined as "willful conduct," and includes numerous behaviors.

​​​Source Data: 

National Center for Victims of Crime: Stalking and Resouce Center

West Virginia Foundation for  Rape Information and Services: www.fris.org

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Or call our hotline, (800) 688-6157.
 Our advocates are available 24 hours a day, 
7 days a week. Your call is confidential.