University of Houston-Victoria

Title IX and Equal Opportunity

UHV Safety Plans

safety plan icon with door keySafety plans provide tips and suggestions for real world and online safety issues. The Title IX and Equal Opportunity Coordinator can provide interactive safety planning services based on your personal situation.

Each safety plan below is intended to help support your own efforts to stay safe. The plans are not designed as one-size-fits-all checklists, but as a list of ideas and suggestions for you to choose from.

 

On-Campus Safety Plan (non-residential)

Residential Safety Plan

Technology Safety Plan

You may also want to consult one of the campus service providers or off-campus service agencies.

Rebecca Lake

Title IX and Equal Opportunity Coordinator
University of Houston-Victoria
3007 N. Ben Wilson St.
University West, Room 116
Victoria, TX 77901
(361) 570-4835

Safety Alert: Computer or phone use can be monitored and is impossible to completely clear. If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, exit this page, clear your browsing history and contact the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office or another service provider from a safe device. The Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office can provide you with a paper safety plan or discuss safety options by phone or in-person.

On-Campus Safety Plan

Safety for Everyone including:

Questions about Safety Options including:

Campus safety (UHV)

Campus safety (non-UHV)

Residential Safety Plan

On-Campus Residences

Off-Campus Residences

Technology Safety Plan

On-Campus Safety Plan

Safety for Everyone

My safety is important. I will trust my judgment and my gut. I have a right to ask for help from law enforcement if I feel I am in danger or if someone has harmed me.

I should treat all threats, direct and indirect, as legitimate and seek help immediately.

I can change my emergency contact information from my abuser to someone I trust.

  • The following entities may have requested an emergency contact: my childcare provider(s), landlord, insurance companies, employer, school, doctor, dentist, counselor, pharmacy, university housing, the registrar, travel agent, veterinarian and others.  

Campus police can help me learn restricted access hours. That way if I need to get into a building during an emergency, I will know which buildings are open.

I can consider general options for safe commuting.

  • Consider your route as well including how public it is and if there are people or buildings you could go to for help in an emergency.
  • Also consider best times of day for travel and security options (officer escorts, camera placement, more public locations, etc.). Consider changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.
  • Consider making a separate list of off-campus commuting options and picking the safest options before your commute.

Walking: Options for safe transportation.

  • In addition to the previous options, consider planning your routes at times when friends can join you.
  • Consider sharing a safe word with friends so that you can say it in an emergency if you need to leave an area but you are afraid your abuser might overhear.

Campus Shuttle: Options for safe transportation.

  • So you do not get left without a ride, check the campus shuttle schedule for each academic term. Find UHV's shuttle schedule.
  • Also consider best times of day and sharing a safe word with friends in case you have an incident while waiting for or riding the shuttle. Always dial 911 in an emergency.
  • Also consider changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.

Riding with Friends: Options for safe transportation

  • Consider persons you feel safe traveling with.
  • Consider a safe word to use with friends as previously described.
  • Consider safety in numbers.
  • Consider changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.

Personal vehicle: Options for safe transportation

  • Consider your route, the safety of the parking areas and changing your schedule so it is not predictable.
  • Consider parking in well-lit or monitored areas. Always lock your vehicle.
  • When approaching your vehicle, check your back windows and backseats to make sure no one has broken into the vehicle while you were gone.
  • If your vehicle has been damaged or broken into, report to campus or local police so that evidence can be preserved. Do not approach the vehicle if someone could still be present or hiding inside.
  • If you have a stalking concern, consider checking your vehicle for devices that could transmit its GPS location.

Hired vehicles (Taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.): Options for safe transportation

  • Travel with friends for safety in numbers.
  • When the vehicle arrives, consider sending someone you trust a description of the vehicle and driver. If it is a taxi, send the taxi number.
  • Always consider sending someone you trust your expected arrival time and destination. Consider arranging to text or call them when you arrive, and confirming that they will contact police for a welfare check if you do not respond. Consider giving them a secret all-clear code word so that if the driver takes your phone, they cannot fake a reply from you.
  • Avoid drivers that appear to be operating without a license or means of electronic tracking.

Public transportation: Options for safe transportation

  • Always check the maps and schedules ahead of time so you do not end up in the wrong area by accident or left without return transportation.
  • Based on your comfort level, sit in areas near the driver, other passengers, and/or the exit. Avoid seats where you could be easily cornered or blocked.
  • Travel with friends for safety in numbers.

For safety in numbers, I can take my friends with me to places on campus or I can request a security escort by calling campus security.

I can request a trespass warning from the campus police that can cover all or parts of campus. Campus police will evaluate my request along with whether the other person has legitimate business on campus or part of campus.

  • For example, Student A lives in campus dorms and the alleged abuser, Student B, does not live in campus housing. Student A can request a trespass warning specifically for campus housing. Student A could also request a trespass warning for a specific building in housing.

If I have a No Contact Order issued by the Title IX Office, I can give a copy of it to campus police/security.

If I do not feel safe in my classes or on campus, or the abuse is affecting me in the classroom, I can request academic support measures through the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will discuss options with me so that my academic activities are not negatively affected.

If I think I am being stalked, I can keep a stalking log which is a list or record of all the incidents of stalking. I can also preserve evidence (names of witnesses, screenshots of messages, police report numbers, etc.) so that if I need help from police or a Court, I can present a full history of the danger.

I can consider changing passwords or my phone, especially if the person ever had access to my unlocked phone. I can also complete the UHV Technology Safety Plan to learn more about ideas for safe use of technology.

  • Consider changing phone numbers if the person is contacting you, or options that you can use to block their calls and messages.
  • Also consider options that will allow you to preserve evidence of unwanted calls or messages.

I can research options for a self-defense class to learn techniques to defend myself in a violent situation. Local law enforcement agencies often offer classes. As of summer 2019, the Victoria Police Department operates a RAD Self Defense Program.

I can learn about the nearest hospitals in case I am injured. I should tell the doctor about all of the injuries and be honest about the causes so they can provide accurate medical help.

Questions about safety options

What can I do if an abuser violates a Protective Order, a No Contact Order or a Criminal Trespass Warning?

  • If a person violates a Protective Order, a No Contact Order or Trespass Warning, you can call campus security. Always call 911 for an immediate response in an emergency situation. You can also call 911 if you are not on campus or if you feel unsafe. You can also report a violation to the Title IX Coordinator.

What can I do if an abuser is following me all around campus?

  • If your abuser is showing up at your classes, dorm, work or internship on campus, or just always seems to be where you are, that could be stalking. If you think s/he is stalking you, you can call campus police or talk to the Title IX Coordinator. You can also call 911 in an emergency.

What if all of the abuse is happening online only?

  • Online abuse is also covered by UHV campus policies. You can contact the Title IX Coordinator or campus police for more information. You can also complete the Technology Safety Plan for more safety tips.

What if my car or parking place does not seem safe?

  • You can park your car in a different place than you normally would if you feel the abuser knows where your car is or might damage your car. You can change the locks on your car if the abuser has a key or look into installing an alarm system. You can also ask campus police about recommendations for safe parking areas.

What if I am going to an unfamiliar location?

  • To help you feel safe going to parties or social events, you can ask my friends to go with me. If you run into your abuser, you can have a code word with your friends that means you have to leave with one of them. You could also call a campus security escort on campus, or 911 for an emergency.

What steps are available for workplace safety?

  • If you work on campus, you can inform your supervisor about the situation in case a workplace emergency happens. The Title IX Coordinator can help you safety plan for the work environment. Campus security services are also available to employees by contacting 361-570-HELP (4357). Always call 911 in an emergency.

What if someone at work is the person who is bothering me?

  • You can inform my supervisor about the situation. The Title IX Coordinator can also help offer options for workplace safety such as No Contact Orders, workplace changes or other case-specific measures.

UHV safety options (for those who use UHV properties and services):

I can request to meet with or speak to the UHV Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office ("Office"). If I choose, the Office can help connect me with campus law enforcement.

  • Some ways that the Office can help you with safety options include setting up a meeting with campus law enforcement/security, arranging for a classroom/work safety plan or helping you to change campus housing.
  • On your request, the Office can send a copy of your concerns to campus police/security and help arrange for security escorts in areas and times of concern.
  • You can also meet with campus police/security independently. For campus security in a non-emergency, call: 361-570-HELP or 361-570-4357 (Victoria) or 281-396-3777 (Katy).
  • Communications to campus police can include a request for a criminal trespass warning against individual(s) who do not have legitimate business on campus, where there is a safety risk.
  • Campus police/security are not a substitute for emergency response, and you should always call 911 in an emergency.

The UHV Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office can also help connect me to counseling services.

  • On your request, the Office can send a copy of your concerns to the UHV Counseling Center. This may help expedite an appointment.
  • You can also meet with campus counselors directly by calling 361-570-4135 or visiting University Commons, Second Floor, Suite 2108 (inside the Library).
  • Benefits eligible employees can contact the Employee Assistance Program at (713) 500-3327 or (800) 346-3549 (toll free) for counseling or legal referrals among other services.
  • Off-campus services are also available.  

The UHV Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office can offer additional services to help me stay safe on campus.

  • On your request, the Office can consider workplace safety options, classroom changes or a change in living assignment.
  • On your request, the Office can also share your concerns with other impacted parties who can help you make safety changes. Examples are supervisors, roommates, faculty or others.

When I meet with the UHV Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office, I have the right to have an advisor present.

When selecting study or recreation locations, I can consider the following location-based safety issues:

  • Is there more than one entrance? Do I know where all the exits are?
  • What about the options for restrooms? Are they isolated? Are there any single-use bathrooms with locks nearby?
  • Does the building require access cards or can anyone access the building?
  • Is there a reception desk where I could get help?
  • Is it safer at certain times of day or night? Are there more people or employees present? Are certain areas of the building locked after hours?
  • Are there security benefits to this location? Examples: high staff or officer presence, camera placement, more public, etc.
  • Do I have a safe way to access the building? Examples: nearby parking or shuttle.
  • Consider using areas you feel are more safe more often and changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.
  • Create a list of locations you visit on campus so that you can evaluate each location based on your particular needs and concerns. Compile a separate list of off-campus locations.
  • If you still need to access a building you feel is not safe, take extra precautions. Consider asking for a security escort or for accommodations through the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office. If you are not sure about a building, find out more information or contact campus police/security.

I can learn where the nearest public phones are located in case of an emergency.

  • At UHV, emergency call boxes are located in the University West parking lot as well as the Jaguar Suites parking lot. They provide instant contact with UHPD. The call boxes are either pole or wall mounted, are blue in color, and have "Emergency/Information" signs above them. The call boxes also have a blue light on the top for increased visibility. 

I can consider where my abuser likes to go and take additional precautions.

  • This safety topic is for safety planning purposes only and is not intended to limit your academic, housing, or workplace activities. Consider all of the places on campus where you know your abuser visits: Also consider the general safety considerations listed in the previous topic.
  • Consider making a list of off-campus locations and evaluating the safety pros and cons.
  • Consider specific areas such as floors, halls, rooms or stairwells. Consider alternate routes and avoiding areas of concern where possible.
  • If you do not want to or cannot avoid these places, consider taking your friends with you or requesting additional security measures through the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office or campus police.

I can evaluate whether I need additional safety options on campus.

  • Based on general safety concerns and any personal circumstances, you can make a list of campus locations and mark those that may be unsafe or places where you may need to take extra precautions. Consider locations like Jaguar Hall (residential and private study areas), Jaguar Hall Dining, Jaguar Court, Jaguar Suites, University West, University Center, University North, UHV/VC Library, UHV/VC Student Center, and Shuttle Services.
  • Safety consultations are available from the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office as well as campus police and security.
  • This list is for safety planning purposes only and is not intended to limit your academic, housing, or workplace activities. 

I can restrict access to my school directory information.

  • Students: A student can update their records by logging into Student Self-Service (see Campus Personal Information/Privacy Settings) to place a privacy restriction on their records. The student may also notify the Office of the Registrar and Student Records in writing at 3007 N. Ben Wilson, Victoria, TX 77901, or submit a form in person at the Office of the Registrar (University West Building, Room 122), or by fax to (361)580-5545.
  • Employees: I can request for my campus directory information at UH to be confidential. I can make a request to the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office, which will work with me and other departments on campus to remove my contact details from the website.

General safety options (for non-UHV students, employees or visitors)

I can make a list of all of the buildings or places that I go and evaluate safety concerns

  • Consider the safety issues below, and then circle the buildings or places that you feel are safe, cross out the ones that do not feel safe and find out more information if you are not sure. For the ones you cross out, if you still need to go to those areas, take extra precautions or ask for safety services such as a security escort.
  • When selecting study or recreation times and locations, consider the following location-based safety issues:
    • Is there more than one entrance? Do I know where all the exits are?
    • What about the options for restrooms? Are they isolated? Are there any single-use bathrooms with locks nearby?
    • Does the building require access cards or can anyone access the building?
    • Is there a reception desk where I could get help?
    • Is it safer at certain times of day or night? Are there more people or employees present? Are certain areas of the building locked after hours?
    • Are there security benefits to this location? Examples: high staff or officer presence, camera placement, more public, etc.
    • Do I have a safe way to access the building? Examples: nearby parking or shuttle. Or, do I have to walk alone through isolated areas to get to the building?
  • Consider using areas you feel are more safe more often and changing your normal routines so that your schedule is not predictable.

I can learn where the nearest public phones are located in case of an emergency.

I can consider places around campus that my abuser likes to go and take additional precautions.

  • This tip is for safety planning purposes only and is not intended to limit your academic, housing, or workplace activities. Consider all of the places on campus where you know your abuser visits as well as the general safety issues for locations listed above. Evaluate which locations seem safe and locations where you may need to take additional precautions.
    • Residence buildings
    • Academic buildings
    • Libraries
    • Student Centers
    • Athletic facilities
    • Dining halls
    • Shuttle services
  • Add a separate list of off-campus locations. Also consider specific areas such as floors, halls or rooms. Consider alternate routes and avoiding these places where possible.
  • If you do not want to or cannot avoid these places, consider taking your friends with you or requesting additional security measures or campus accommodations.

I can request to restrict access to my school directory information. I can also limit public information about my locations.

  • Contact your Title IX Coordinator, student records office or employee human relations office for more information.
  • Consider other places where your information may be publicized including social media, workplace directories and more. You have a right to limit public information about your day-to-day activities and locations to protect your personal safety.

Residential Safety Plan

For general safety, I can keep my door and windows locked and ask any roommates or family members to do the same.

  • If I live in shared housing, I can keep my bedroom door locked in case my roommates have unexpected visitors or leave the main door unlocked.

 I can identify escape routes out of my residence. If I have children, I can teach them how to safely escape and seek help.

  • Consider a second (backup) exit plan in case the person you are concerned about discovers the first route.

I can attempt to keep weapons, such as guns and knives, locked away and harder to reach for a possible abuser.

I can identify safe areas of my residence where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If an argument or an incident happens, I can move to those areas.

  • Look for rooms with soft surfaces and not hard edges. Try to avoid Bathrooms and Kitchens (those rooms tend to have tile or hard flooring, sharp objects and edges).
  • Don't run to where any children are, as the person may hurt them or use them to threaten you.
  • Include all members of the household in safety planning (including roommates and children). Warn roommates of the danger—for example, if a stalker has focused on you, that does not mean they will not harm your roommate if they see an opportunity. Tell them to take extra precautions with children and pets.

I can share a code word and gesture or signal with my friends, neighbors, roommates or RA that means I need immediate help and to call police.

  • Consider a signal or normal-sounding word or phrase for a code word, because if someone breaks into your residence, you may not be able to speak freely.

If I need emergency shelter off campus, I could identify friends with room ahead of time, or I could contact an emergency hotline.

  • At UHV, the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office provides campus emergency cards with essential campus services and hotline information to all employees and students on campus.
  • Sometimes individuals do not feel comfortable seeking services through their school, or they are afraid the person will still be able to locate them in campus housing. Off-campus resources may be able to provide additional, confidential services.

I can rent a post office box or use the address of a friend for my mail (be aware that physical addresses may be reported on restraining orders and police reports).

  • Also consider state resources to have a confidential address set up for your public records. Learn more about Address Confidentiality Programs from the Stalking Resource Center.

I can pack a bag with important items so I am ready if I need to leave quickly. I can put the bag in a safe place, or give it to a friend or relative I trust for safekeeping. Consider including items such as:

  • Form of identification and social security card;
  • Financial information and way to access money.
  • Copies of legal documents (like protective orders, rent agreements or property deeds, car registration and insurance, medical records and insurance, paystub or other work records, passport, divorce and custody files, and licenses).
  • List of emergency contacts, shelter locations, doctor information, hotlines and local law enforcement. Include a copy of your contacts in writing in case you lose your phone, or back up a copy of your phone contacts to a second location.
  • Medications, medical records and tax returns.
  • Extra set of house and car keys.
  • Pay-as-you-go cell phone.
  • Changes of clothes.
  • If you are being stalked, consider keeping a copy of your stalking evidence (e.g. log of events, witness names, copies of screenshots, photos of injuries, etc.).
  • You may also want to take photos of any valuable assets.
  • You can consider getting a safe deposit box at a bank your perpetrator doesn't use to store copies of the paperwork listed above, as well as small valuable items.

If I have a vehicle, I can practice backing my car into parking spots or driveways and keeping it fueled. This will allow me to leave faster if an incident occurs.

If I share a relationship or a home with an abuser, I have the right to remain in or leave a relationship at any time for any reason. This is my choice, and no one else can make it for me.

  • If you need to safely vent about the relationship, consider possible safe spaces and people you trust.
  • At UHV, counselors in the UHV Counseling Center are confidential and available for free to students (call 361-570-4135). Benefits-eligible employees may contact the Employee Assistance Program for counseling resources (call 800-346-3549). Off-campus counseling and chat services are also available through national hotlines. Find more information at UHV Title IX & Equal Opportunity Website.

If I financially depend on the abuser, I can set a personal goal for a deadline to open a private bank account (at a place my abuser does not bank) and start saving for independence.

  • Remember to set the account to only send notices to a secure address, such as a post office box, so that the abuser does not learn about the account through mailings.
  • If you have a joint checking account, you can consider opening your own checking account and storing money there. Any adult has the right to open their own bank account, even if they are married or dependent on another person.
  • In abusive or controlling relationships, it is common for the abusive partner to get control of all of the money. Often, an abusive partner will not allow their partner to work outside of the home or talk to family and friends.
  • Even if you do not have any money, you can find the closest shelter by calling the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline for free at 800-799-SAFE (800-799-7233). You do not have to pay money to stay at a domestic violence shelter. Many domestic violence shelters can help you pay for a ride to the shelter.

If I decide to end the relationship, It may not be safe for me to end the relationship in person or at home where I am more isolated. I can tell the abuser by phone, message, or in a public location.

  • Also consider arranging for the safety of any children or pets beforehand and have copies of any essential documents.
  • Consider sharing how and when you plan to end the relationship with a trusted person who will know to check on you afterward.
  • Consider precautions in how you plan to leave the relationship. Avoid leaving information about your support or plans in a place that you abuser may find them.

For alcohol and drugs in the home, I can consider safety planning for how to respond if my abuser is using drugs or alcohol as well as consider risk factors.

  • Drug and alcohol use can heighten emotions and exacerbate already dangerous situations. Inebriation can intensify unhealthy relationship dynamics and trigger rapid mood changes. Drug and alcohol use can also make it more difficult to leave dangerous situations due to impairment, especially if you or your ride are unable to drive.
  • Abusive partners may also use drugs and/or alcohol to increase your vulnerability to sexual assault, having unsafe sex, physical assault, or addiction.
  • Being abused is never your fault; however, being aware of the risk factors associated with drug and alcohol use can be used as part of your safety planning.

UHV On-Campus Housing Safety Options

I can keep my door and windows locked and ask my roommates to do the same. In residences with suites, I can keep my bedroom door locked in case my suite mates have unexpected visitors. If my bedroom does not have a lock, I can request one through my Title IX Office or campus housing.

  • At UHV, All Jaguar Suites residences should have bedroom door locks. Contact campus housing immediately if any of your residence locks are not working properly.

I can change my locks, especially if the person has had access to my keys. I can also check and fix any broken windows or doors. I can ask campus police/security to do a security check of my room.

  • At UHV, campus housing has services to update locks or to relocate students to alternate housing for safety reasons.
  • The campus police or the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office can help to expedite requests to have locks changed for safety reasons.

If I am worried about a particular person who is a threat, I can tell my RA about the situation ask them to warn me and call police/security if the person shows up at my housing. I can also tell campus police/security that the person should not visit me on campus.

  • Consider warning roommates of possible danger.
  • If the person is in the room with you, you may not feel safe to ask for help. Consider telling an RA or friend ahead of time to call police or security if that person comes to your residence.
  • If possible, consider providing campus police with a photo of the person or description any vehicles they may drive.
  • If the person has no reason to be on your floor or building, consider asking campus police for a criminal trespass warning or for the Title IX Coordinator to issue a stay away order.

I can ask what other living changes or precautions might be available, and the Title IX & Equal Opportunity Office can also help identify housing changes.

  • At UHV, the Title IX Coordinator can discuss more case-specific safety planning and housing security options. The Coordinator can also help you send notices to campus housing or campus police/security or request services through those offices.

If I no longer feel safe in my residence, I can call campus police/security or talk to the Title IX Coordinator about my housing options.

  • Title IX Coordinators can help arrange for alternate campus housing based on safety concerns.

Off-Campus Housing Safety Options

I can ask law enforcement to do a security check or walk-through of my residence. Contact your local law enforcement office for more information.

I can seek legal consultation to find out the options about breaking my lease if I do not feel safe in my rental home or apartment. The Texas Advocacy Project provides free hotline services with legal advice for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking by calling 800-374-HOPE (800-374-4673).

  • Other service agencies may also be able to help you learn about local or state laws that help victims of crime. They may also have more information about safe housing standards or your tenant rights.
  • Per Section 92.016 of the Texas Property Code, you may have the right to break your residential lease without penalty, and sometimes without notice, if you are a victim of family violence. Contact an agency such as the State Bar of Texas Lawyer Referral and Information Service at 800-252-9690 or The Texas Advocacy Project at 800-374-HOPE for more information about your legal rights.

I can change my locks, especially if the person has had access to my room or home.

  • I can consider installing solid core interior doors with dead bolts. If all keys cannot be accounted for, I can change the locks and secure the spare keys.
  • I can also check and fix any broken windows or doors.
  • See Section 92.153 of the Texas Property Code for lock requirements on rental properties in Texas that must be provided at the Landlord's expense.

I can consider replacing wooden doors with steel or metal doors. I can also look at installing security systems and a motion-activated light system if possible.

  • Consider using a video surveillance system if you have reason to think the person has been to your home. Video evidence can be crucial to proving that someone has violated a Court's order or committed another type of crime.

I can tell my neighbors or apartment managers about the situation.

  • If possible, consider providing them with a photo of the person or description of any vehicles they may drive.
  • Ask your neighbors to call the police if they see the uninvited person at your home.

Technology Safety Plan

I never should be forced or pressured to share a password with anyone.

  • Sharing passwords is not a sign of trust; it is a sign of lack of trust and a risk factor for possible abuse.

I can memorize emergency numbers, and make sure that 911 and trusted family or friends are on speed dial.

  • Be prepared in case the person you are concerned about breaks your phone, steals your phone or otherwise interferes with your ability to call for help. Interference with an emergency call in Texas is a crime, and you can file a police report for interference if you experience this type of incident.
  • If you may be in an abusive relationship, consider having a phone only you know about for emergencies or "burner phone" available or include it as part of your emergency supplies.

I can evaluate all of my electronic accounts and devices. I can consider if the account or device could have been compromised (password shared or easy to guess, signs of suspicious activity, left unlocked, etc.). I can review devices like phones, computers, email accounts, as well as apps or accounts that connect to online banking, online shopping, utility accounts, and anywhere my passwords or credit card information could be stored.

  • If the person you are concerned about had unlocked access to the device, the device is unsafe. While you can check to ensure that your web browser is not storing passwords and delete search history or browse in private mode, these steps may not be enough if you are dealing with a skilled stalker.
  • Consider if the person could have had access or seen unlocked accounts, watched you type in a password or could easily guess your password.
  • Never log into critical accounts from an unsafe device.

If my phone or account may have been compromised, I can consider changing phones or devices.

  • Always use safe devices when researching things such as travel plans, housing options, legal issues and safety plans. Consider borrowing a safe device from a friend if needed.
  • Cell phones can be a beacon, tracking your exact location in real time, so consider the risk of possible GPS tracking as well.

I can also preserve evidence before discarding an unsafe device.

  • Also consider whether you want to keep a record of unwanted calls or texts and preserve evidence of the full history before discarding old phones.
  • Consider possible applications to preserve evidence. For instance, a screen recorder, cloud storage and other recording applications may be useful. Always use safe, strong passwords for these services and do not link them to unsafe email accounts.

I can change all of my passwords if my accounts may have been compromised, and I can update my account-recovery numbers and emails to safe devices and accounts.

  • Consider using a device the person has never had access to when changing passwords (in case they installed spyware on your previous device).
  • Pick passwords that cannot be easily guessed.
  • Consider opening an email account the person does not know about on a safe device and use that account for safety planning and sensitive communications.
  • If you are worried the person will become suspicious and you feel you need to maintain appearances, consider if you want to keep unsafe accounts active with non-critical emails. However, you may want to balance risks such as identity theft or impersonation.

I could also consider having a professional service such as Geek Squad, located at Best Buy stores, examine my phone, computer, or other technology to see if they can detect spyware or malware.

  • While this tip may be helpful, it also depends on the skills & knowledge of the person who may have accessed the device. If the skills & knowledge of the person examining the device is lower than that person, the examiner may not be able to detect all possible stalking techniques, software or applications.

I can contact my phone service provider to find out what other options are available such as call blocking, call waiting and other options.

  • If you are receiving unwanted calls or messages, consider requesting caller ID and other privacy measures. Ask that your phone number be blocked so that if you call anyone, no one will be able to share your new, unlisted phone number.

I can consider getting a new phone number if blocking the unwanted caller is not sufficient.

  • Consider changing phone numbers if the person is contacting you from multiple numbers, and other options that you can use to block their calls and messages. There are also services that provide a new number with call-forwarding. Some services require the person to record their voice before you answer their call. This can help you screen unknown numbers.
  • Consider leaving an old number active and connected to an answering machine or voicemail. Consider asking someone you trust or law enforcement to screen the calls, and save any messages from the abuser or stalker. These messages and call records, particularly those that are explicitly abusive or threatening, can be critical evidence.

I can ask my workplace if it is possible to screen my calls.

  • If you are receiving unwanted calls at work, consider asking your supervisor if you can put the calls on speakerphone so that others can witness the calls, or have access to recorded calls to make a police report. You can also ask your workplace for a log of the call or record of the caller's information to report to police.
  • If your workplace will not provide you with the information directly, share date & time information for the calls with law enforcement so that they can access the related records.

If the person may have continuing access to my phone or account, I can ask to borrow a friend's phone or keep a secret phone in a safe place to make essential calls.

  • Remember that a person with access to your phone account may also look at your call and text history.
  • Consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone that you keep in a safe place to allow you to make calls or use in an emergency.

I can check my privacy settings regularly.

  • Sometimes privacy settings change and you may not realize what information has become public. Log out of the social media platform and test what you can find using a friend's account or a public search.
  • You may also consider rideshare apps, such as Uber, to see if the person is listed as a trusted contact or if the function to share your itinerary with them is active. This may also apply to housing apps such as AirBnB.

I can remove important personal data from social media.

  • Consider only posting things you want the public to see or know. Be protective of your personal information. Your phone numbers and addresses enable people to contact you directly, and things like your birth date, the schools you attended, your employer and photos with landmarks may make it easier for someone to find where you live, hang out or go to school.
  • Consider avoiding posting GPS information online or "checking in" at businesses online. This type of information could be used to track your routines (for example, what park you exercise in, what coffee shop you have lunch at, etc.).

I have the right to keep my life private.

  • You have the right to set boundaries and limits. Consider telling other people not to post personal information or your locations on social media. Ask people not to post or tag pictures if you are not comfortable with it, or set up your account so you have to approve all tags.
  • You may also consider deleting or temporarily deactivating social media accounts or using an alias, when possible.

Warn people about possible spam calls or emails.

  • If you are concerned that the person will seek out information about you such as work location, schedule or other private details, consider warning your friends or coworkers. Let them know that no one should release your private information to anyone, even if they claim to be a spouse or family member.