About Stalking

Stalking occurs when a person who has no legal reason to contact you, continues to bother you after you have said you want to be left alone. This repeated, unwanted contact can make you afraid for your personal safety. This behaviour is called stalking and it is against the law. In Canada, when criminal charges are laid by the police for stalking, the crime is known as criminal harassment.

Stalking can happen to anyone. We use the term “target” to refer to anyone who is being stalked. Anyone can be a stalker, and anyone can be a target of stalking. A stalker could be an intimate partner, housemate, co-worker, acquaintance, or even a total stranger. Remember: if you are being stalked, it is NOT your fault!

Stalking may include:

  • following you from place to place, or following your family or friends to get information about you
  • communicating directly or indirectly with you or your family or friends to get information about you
  • watching you in your home, workplace or any other place
  • threatening and intimidating behaviour or comments directed at you

Stalkers sometimes also break other criminal laws, such as intimidation, uttering threats, making harassing phone calls, trespassing and mischief. It is important for you to report these offences to your local police. They will decide if any criminal laws are being broken, and will lay criminal charges, if appropriate.

How to stay safe if you are being stalked

There are many ways to improve your safety, whether you are dealing with a stalking/harassment situation or ending an abusive relationship. Here are some things to consider:

  • If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police service. Tell the operator that you believe you are in danger and are afraid for your safety. If you have a protection order, tell the police when you call.
  • Create a protection plan for yourself and your family. For help with creating protection plans, visit the Staying Safe page. 
  • Get a court order of protection (restraining order) that states the stalker cannot follow you, contact you, or otherwise continue any stalking behaviour. If the stalker breaks any of these conditions, call the police. Visit the Protection Orders page to learn more about protection orders.
  • Talk to a counsellor or another trusted person, such as a friend or family member about the stalking. Being stalked can be very frightening and confusing. Talking about it can help you stay emotionally strong.
  • Tell people you trust – family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, landlords – about your situation. If possible, give these people a photo or description of the stalker, so they can tell you if they see the stalker hanging around.

To learn more about stalking, read the Stalking is a Crime guide at Stalking is a Crime.