Stalking

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What is stalking?

South Dakota Codified Law (SDCL) CHAPTER 22-19A

STALKING
(1) Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follow or harass another person;

(2) Make a credible threat to another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury; or

(3) Willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly harass another person by means of any verbal, electronic, digital media, mechanical, telegraphic, or written communication.

A violation of this section constitutes the crime of stalking. Stalking is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, any second or subsequent conviction occurring within ten years of a prior conviction under this section is a Class 6 felony.
Stalking statutes vary from state to state.

Stalking refers to harassing or threatening behavior by an individual i.e., following a person, appearing at a person’s home or place of business, placing harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person’s property. In sum, any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear can be considered stalking.

Anyone can be a stalker, just as anyone can be a stalking victim.

Stalking is a crime that can affect anyone, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, geographic location, or personal associations.

If You Are Being Stalked

If you suspect you are being stalked, report all contacts and incidents to local law enforcement. Things to do if you are stalked:

  • Document every incident as thoroughly as possible.
  • You may document by using videotapes, audio tapes, phone messages, text messages, social networking site messages (Facebook, Twitter), photographs of property damage or other forms of documentation.
  • Keep a log or journal to document all incidents, which include the date, time, where it happened, who witnessed it, and what was said or done.

Where can you get help?

Remember, you are not alone. Do not lose hope. The Sacred Heart Family Violence Program Services in your community may include hotlines, referrals to counseling services, and support groups and help in obtaining a Restraining Order/Protection Order. Trained victim advocates can provide vital information and a full range of support services, such as assistance through the criminal justice process and help finding out about your rights as a stalking victim.

Are you being stalked?

Common stalking behaviors:

  • Mailing cards or other cryptic messages
  • Breaking windows, breaking into or vandalizing your home or property
  • Taking your mail
  • Leaving things such as flowers for you
  • Watching you from a distance
  • Hang up calls on the telephone
  • Following you in a vehicle
  • Following you on foot
  • Hiding in bushes or other surveillance of your home
  • Surveillance of you at work
  • Other trespassing
  • Destroying property to scare or intimidate you
  • Stealing things from you
  • Filing numerous pleadings in court cases
  • Filing for custody of children regardless of their needs
  • Not respecting visitation limitations
  • Harassing telephone calls or notes
  • Violation of restraining/protection orders