Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

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What is stalking?

I'll tell you what it is-I'm being hunted!

In simplest terms, stalking is the unwanted pursuit of another person. By its nature, stalking is not a one-time event. The individual's actions must be considered in connection with other actions to determine if someone is being stalked. It includes repeated harassing or threatening behavior toward another person, whether that person is a total stranger, slight acquaintance, current or former intimate partner, or anyone else.

Stalking is also:
What is cyberstalking?

Cyberstalking means using technology to stalk. Cyberstalkers need not be in physical proximity to their targets, and are therefore sometimes able to remain anonymous or even enlist others to help them stalk.

Typical Stalking Behaviors

Stalking behaviors can include any behaviors if they have no reasonable legitimate purpose2, depending upon the context in which they are done. The acts committed are limited only by the stalker's creativity, access, and resources.

Stalkers' common behaviors include:

Stalking is any repeated unwanted behavior that has no reasonable, legitimate purpose, depending on the surrounding conditions or actions.

Intimate Partner Stalkers

When stalking is identified, it is generally true that:

Risks Increase When Current or Former Intimate Partner Is Stalking
Impact on Victims

Stalking can have a devastating impact on victims, including:

New York State Stalking Law

Current New York stalking law (established in 1999) focuses on the state of mind of the stalking victim and the reasonable fear that the stalker's behavior is likely to cause the victim4.

What can be done if stalking is identified?

Any safety plan should validate and support victims without blaming them or holding them responsible.

For More Information


  1. 81% of women stalked by a current or former intimate partner are also physically assaulted by that partner; 31% are also sexually assaulted. (Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998, Stalking in America, NIJ).
  2. "Legitimate purpose" is a legal term that is determined based on the facts of each case.
  3. 26% of stalking victims lose time from work as a result of their victimization.(Tjaden & Thoennes).
  4. Penal Law section 120.45.

*For more information, please see the Animal Cruelty and Domestic Violence Infoguide.