Advice if you are being stalked

| 29/09/2016

What should a woman to do if she thinks she is being stalked or watched? She receives unrecognised calls on her phones, she has posts on her social media from unknown correspondents, information that is privately confided is reported back to her, she receives messages via texts from unknown senders, and the feeling is generally apparent that she is being watched and observed. Please don’t refer the police department as a comfort or a solution. They have done nothing and this is unacceptable.

Auntie’s answer: If someone is being stalked that is clearly an extremely serious and upsetting situation. To find out the best action to take if this happens, I went right to the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

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Ania Milanowska, the centre’s executive director, provided me with what I hope will be very helpful advice on what to do. I felt the topic important enough to devote this column almost exclusively to her words. “The first thing to do is, of course, to call the police. Although you said specifically that you don’t see the point in doing that, the police are the ones who definitely should be contacted,” she explained.

“And yes, it is unacceptable if you have already done this and haven’t received a response, but unless we stop accepting it, nothing will change.  Keep calling them.  The key for a good response is to make them accountable, so always take a name and the badge number.

“If any reports are made to the police in writing, ask for it to be signed by the officer who is taking the report and get a copy for your records.  This helps to make sure that the records don’t go missing.  Better yet, write up the report yourself so nothing can be misinterpreted and just ask for the report to be filed.

“If you are not happy with the police response, ask to speak to the supervisor or even the commissioner. This process works – when the officer knows that you have their name and badge number their attitude and the level of services is different.”

As for receiving messages from unknown senders, Ms Milanowska said that the police together with Flow and Digicel can track those. She also suggested that if the person knows any computer wizard to seek their help in tracking any emails, posts and the like.

It is also important to maintain clear records of any contact, she explained. “Keep a log of all stalking incidents and never ever involve in conversation or exchange messages with the stalker. The log should contain the date and time, phone number if possible, description of what happened and if there were any witnesses, their names and contact details.

“Save all the messages (take snapshots), emails, voicemails, etc. Basically build the case on the stalker. The police will have more to work with and will be much more helpful if they have some kind of evidence.”

Please also remember that the Crisis Centre is there to help and someone is available 24/7 on their hotline, which is 943-2422 (CICC). “They will help her come up with a safety plan and she can come to our shelter if she needs to go somewhere safe.  If she is not getting the police response she wants, they can advocate for her,” Ms. Milanowska said.

She also advised keeping a record of all the agencies and people who the stalking incidents were reported to, along with their contact information.

Lastly, involve friends and family, she said, by “just making them aware what is happening and hopefully receiving support from them”.

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Comments (5)

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  1. makingapoint says:

    I totally agree with respect to men. Women commit a myriad of these sorts of crimes against men, which are never reported for fear of being regarded as petty. Where they are reported by men very little is done by the police. When the tables are turned the police are keen to arrest men without cause in some instances and the DPP’s office are quick to charge. They are many vindictive women who use the ICT law and the insulting the modesty of a woman law to incriminate men.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What if the stalker is a serving police officer?

  3. Anonymous says:

    The lack of concern or assistance from our police on a wide range of issues is disgusting. As an aside, as what is complained of appears to be breaches of various things regulated by ICTA, a complaint to them may also assist. I hope that the perpetrator is identified and stopped.

  4. Howie says:

    Great advice!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    This advice does not work if you are a man. The police and courts have stated they are not concerned, and it is the man’s problem to deal with. The crisis centre is also not able to assist you if you are a man, and all of the gov entities will simply redirect you back to the police and courts in a never ending cycle, until you are forced to take matters into your own hands, at which point the police and courts will be there very quickly to ensure you are punished accordingly. Unfortunately the DPP who set social policy in deciding who gets charged and who doesn’t simply fuel this chaos.