“It’s going to take getting a bullet put in my head before people understand how serious this is.” – Peggy Klinke one month prior to her murder by her stalker in January 2003.
Stalking is a serious issue, one which society has not given enough attention to, and resources towards. As we blogged about last week, the staff at RCASA attended the Recognizing and Responding to Stalking Conference presented by The Stalking Resource Center. We shared with you earlier how to create and maintain an Incident Log. We would like to share with you now how to create a safety plan. Again, this is something that can be done with a counselor, an advocate, or law enforcement because it is an emotionally challenging and draining task.
A safety plan consists of suggestions, plans, and responses to help reduce the victims risk of harm. It’s important to remember that each safety plan should be specific to the individual. The plan should take into consideration current and previous patterns and behaviors of the stalker and address each of them. You’ll want to consider risk reduction strategies and possible intervention plans. When putting your safety plan together you’ll want to include information about the stalker, information about your schedule and routines, support systems in place to assist in risk reduction (police, friends, family, co-workers, advocate, etc.), and emergency contact information.
Below are some safety tips to keep in mind, remember not everything will work for everyone, use what is appropriate to you and your circumstances.
- Keep a phone nearby at all times.
- Vary your routine.
- Use a buddy system when out.
- Let close friends and family know what is going on.
- Change your email address, phone number, computer passwords, etc.
- Have an escape from the house, make sure the children know it.
- Use a code word with children to let them know they need to leave.
- Let neighbors know to keep an eye out if the stalker shows up.
Stalking is unpredictable and dangerous. Having a safety plan in place as well as keeping a comprehensive stalking log will increase your safety.