International Stalking countermeasures
Contributed by Henrik Bramsborg, Bramsborg Security & Safety. He is the managing director of Bramsborg Security & Safety, a security company based in Denmark. Bramsborg Security & Safety have been quoted or profiled in several Danish media as the “Danish stalking experts.” Henrik is a stalking- and surveillance-detection specialist, and the author of several Danish books on security. Henrik is also an experienced instructor in personal protection, having trained NATO S-FOR forces, police officers, correctional facility officers, and private bodyguards. He holds a management degree and is a certified motivation instructor. Contributed articles do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of ÆGIS.
Stalking as a term is a very young one. Actually less than 30 years. But as disease it is probably several hundred years old. Scripts from sixteenth century China tell a story about a female stalking an emperor statesman.
Today stalking has become a common problem in certain cultures. The attention to the decease is primarily drawn by the press, focusing on celebrity stalkers and the effect it may have on the celebrity. This is however not the only reason why it has become an everyday occurrence. Within the terminology of stalking lies acts as diverse as intelligence collection, sending love letters, surveillance, sending gifts i.e. jewelry, harassment and violence.
There are, in my opinion, only a few tools suitable to fight such a horrible decease. Since the individual carrying the decease, seldom perceive him/herself as sick, the society must assist. This is best done by law. Whether committing the stalkers to psychiatric treatment or simply placing the stalkers in jail, it is the society in which the stalkers commit their crime that has to take responsibility.
As a security professional I have studied and been involved in stalking cases on several occasions. A few universal rules apply to most stalking cases when we try to help the victims of stalking:
If you find yourself being stalked, regardless of country:
Say NO once. Tell the stalker once and for all, that you want nothing to do with him/her. After that, avoid ALL communication. This is important when you go to trial later on.
Collect evidence. It includes, but is not limited to; photographs, letters, notes, e-mails, voice mail, items sent as threat’s or gifts, witness statements and cell phone SMS notes. Collect as much as possible. Do NOT destroy or alter evidence – it can backfire when prosecuting the stalker.
Get legal aide. Even if there are no stalking statutes available in the particular country you reside in, legal aide is the key to your salvation. A (good) lawyer can tell you what is needed to get the perpetrator convicted. In my country, Denmark, we do not have a stalking law. We simply use a variety of different laws and statutes to keep the stalkers at bay (primarily harassment, threatening and trespassing offenses). A good lawyer will also help convince a reluctant police officer that the incidents you report are a serious problem.
Report to the police. Even if the twelve daily calls on your phone and the two letters your receive daily doesn’t bother you, you should report it, via a lawyer. Chances are that the stalker will continue, and probably at a higher level. If the stalking turns grim, with violence involved, the police need to know the history in order to act correct. It will also help you, should you choose to move to another country, to have a copy of a restraining order, a report or a written receipt of you reporting a crime in case the stalker continuous in you new resident country.
Get security/safety and stay safe. If possible, get a personal protection specialist or another security specialist to protect you, at least during and right after the trial. Harden yourself by changing habits, car, style of clothes and social circles. Get self-defense training, get a dog, create a “safe room” in your residency and make sure that your neighbors know that you have a stalker following you.
Get in touch with a network of stalking victims. There are several on the Internet. It will help you keep your sanity and you will learn that your case is far from unique.
Several countries have laws against stalking these include USA, England, Scotland, Canada, Australia, Germany, The Nederland and Japan (to name a few). But a lot of countries have not yet discovered the “trend” among these socially inept criminals, and the consequence is that stalking in these countries is allowed to continue.
Should you need further information about stalking I suggest that you buy the two books: Surviving a stalker, by Linden Gross and How to stop a stalker, by Mike Proctor. There are several other fine books on the subject but these two combined, cover most issues.