Stalking victims can take an active role to increase their own safety and document stalking incidents. Stalking sacks, are actual bags of resources, given to stalking victims with tools to help them increase their safety, document the crime.
The contents of stalking sacks vary depending on the victim's needs, resources, and local laws. Some jurisdictions, for example, may have laws that forbid the use of pepper spray but allow personal alarm systems. To lower costs, companies or individuals in the community may donate items for the sack.
The list below includes Standard Contents
, items that are likely to be useful and legal in all communities, and Possible Contents
, items that are useful and legal in some communities but not others.
Standard Contents Safety
- Safety plan
- Cell phone (with charger)
- Flashlight (with batteries)
- Stalking log
- Disposable camera (with time/date recorder if available)
- Wrist watch (to specify time and date)
- Notebook and pen
(Based on community needs and state laws) Safety
- Dead bolt buddy: The dead bolt buddy is a device that attaches to any dead bolt knob and prevents the lock from opening even if the intruder has a key.
- Pepper spray: Pepper spray may help a victim escape an attack but may not be legal in some jurisdictions. Victims are strongly urged to obtain proper training on the use of pepper spray and other self-defense instruments.
- Personal alarm: This small, portable alarm can be attached to windows or doors and will produce a loud noise if the window or door is opened. It also can be attached to a belt or scarf and will sound if the strap is pulled. (Note: if the personal alarm is too expensive, a whistle can be included in the sack.)
- Plastic zip-lock bag and powder-free latex gloves: Victims can use these items to collect evidence, but only as a last resort, if it is clear that police will not come to the scene or that the evidence will be moved, damaged, or altered before the police arrive. Remember that collecting evidence is the job of law enforcement, and under most circumstances, victims should wait for the police to perform this task.
- Audio recorder : If tape-recording without permission is legal in their state, victims can use tape recorders to tape any conversation with the stalker. Jurisdictions have different laws on what kind of recordings (e.g., in-person or phone discussions) can be used as evidence, and recording a person without his or her permission is illegal in some states. Check local laws before recording any conversations.
Source: Adapted from materials developed by the Alexandria, Virginia Domestic Violence Intervention Project and Virginians Against Domestic Violence.