Few things are as frightening as being involved in an abusive relationship. You might have ended a romantic relationship and felt like you escaped, only to realize that the ordeal is not yet over. Like many other Pennsylvania residents, you could find yourself the target of stalking by an ex-spouse, a former flame or someone who developed an unhealthy interest in you. Understandably, you may want to know how to make this terrifying behavior stop.

There are several behaviors that count as stalking, according to the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence. To legally qualify as stalking, you need to have experienced reasonable fear for your safety, or the other person’s behavior must have given you significant emotional distress. Stalking behaviors can include the following:

  • Repeatedly leaving someone unwanted gifts and favors
  • Following the other person home from work or around town
  • Sending repeated phone calls, voice mails, text messages, emails and messages on social media that are annoying, harassing or threatening
  • Damaging personal property
  • Making threats to harm the other person or to harm one’s self if the other person doesn’t go on a date or resume the relationship

Stalking can count as a crime in Pennsylvania, and you may be able to get a protective order if the person stalking you is a former romantic partner or has shown evidence that you may be in danger. You should not take a stalking situation lightly. Therefore, this information is meant to educate you, but should not replace the advice of a lawyer.