Stalking occurs when someone repeatedly imposes unwanted communication and/or contact on a person that causes them to feel fear or distress. If you feel unsafe on campus or are experiencing stalking activity outside of university, we can provide support for you.
Examples of physical stalking include:
- Showing up uninvited at your home or other places you regularly visit in your daily life.
- Approaching or following you.
- Vandalising or damaging your personal property.
- Physically and/or verbally threatening you or your loved ones.
- Sending or leaving unwanted letters or gifts.
- Ordering unwanted goods and services on your behalf.
- Arranging to meet you under false pretences.
- Starting false legal action against you.
Examples of cyberstalking include:
- Repeatedly sending you unwanted emails, text messages, and voicemails.
- Using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices or tracking apps to track your location and following you without permission.
- Keeping you under surveillance via closed-circuit TV cameras.
- Harassing, humiliating or threatening you on social media sites.
- Hacking into your email or internet accounts to impersonate you.
What to do if you are experiencing stalking
- It is recommended that victims give a single clear message to their stalker that their attention is unwanted and needs to stop.
- Following the single clear message, stop all contact with the stalker.
- Do not negotiate or reason with the stalker.
- Do not respond to contact of any form from the stalker as this encourages the stalking to continue (even if you respond negatively).
- Block the stalker’s email and phone number.
- Block the stalker on social media and report all unwanted messages and posts to the social media site.
- Screen phone calls, especially those from private numbers.
- Take all threats seriously and contact the police immediately.
- Always have your phone with you and save emergency contact numbers in it.
- Keep your location private by turning off location services on your phone. Don’t make posts on social media.
- Make a safety plan including safe places you can go in an emergency. It might be homes of family or friends that the stalker doesn’t know the addresses of.
- Vary your travel routine or route, including using different shops.
- Change passwords and increase privacy settings on social media. Ensure your profiles are set to private.
- Use the private browsing setting in your internet browser to ensure your search history can’t be viewed.
- Get a free home security check through your local police station and follow their recommendations.
- Tell trusted people in your support network that you are being stalked and seek their advice. This may include friends, family, neighbours, work mates, or peers/staff at university.
- Request that trusted people avoid contact with the stalker and do not provide them with any information about you – such as your location.
- Seek help from professional support services (i.e. counselling).
- If you are being stalked on campus and/or by a Swinburne student or staff member, report the behaviour to Swinburne, e.g. teaching or professional staff, security services, or Safer Community.
- Keep all items or letters received from the stalker. Date them and lock in a secure place.
- Save a history of all phone calls, text messages, emails, social media posts, comments and messages. Take screen shots where possible.
- Keep a logbook of all unwanted stalker activity with dates and times. This includes all instances of contact and being followed or under surveillance, both physically or using technology.
- Report any inappropriate online behaviour to social media sites.
- Report the stalker to the police if you feel unsafe or if the behaviour has been going on for two weeks, or longer. If the stalker makes any threats, report to the police immediately.
- Consider applying for an intervention order that forbids the person from contacting you.
At Swinburne, we are committed to keeping our community of students, staff and on-campus visitors safe. If you feel unsafe on campus, call Swinburne security on +61 3 9214 3333 or explore our on-campus support services, including:
Our private and confidential counselling service is available to help you through your situation. Register and make an appointment to see a counsellor. Or call the counselling team on +61 3 9214 8483.
The Swinburne crisis line is available to help you 24 hours a day on weekends and public holidays, and outside business hours on weekdays (before 9.00am and after 5.00pm). Call 1300 854 144 or text 0488 884 145.
Outside of Swinburne, there are 24/7 support services available for people experiencing activity that makes them feel unsafe. If your life is in immediate danger, call the police on 000.
Off-campus support services include:
24/7 phone crisis support.
WIRE (Women’s Information and Referral Exchange)
Free information, support and referral services for women.
Men's Referral Service (No to Violence)
Advice and support for men concerned about their anger or violence towards their family.