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Understanding Stalking: What Every Employer Needs to Know

Understanding Stalking: What Every Employer Needs to Know

The 8 most common types of stalkers

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Understanding stalkers is paramount to protecting your staff, visitors and to possibly preventing workplace violence. Stalkers come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life and every socioeconomic background. They have different reasons for stalking and will take different actions. Some harass their victims out of hate, or out of revenge for some real or imagined offense. Stalking can also be a means of protest. There have been several killings by stalkers at workplaces, after employees who have been fired returned to stalk and eventually kill those who have fired them.

There is one thing all stalkers have in common: obsession and delusion. While there is no cookie cutter description, there are some general categories that stalkers can fit into, sometimes showing characteristics of several categories. By understanding a stalker's motivations, employers or other employees may be able to anticipate a risk and prevent a workplace incident before it happens.

8 Types of Stalkers

  • There is one thing all stalkers have in common: obsession and delusion.

    The Love-Lost Stalker: This person believes their relationship is about to end, so they seek revenge on the person who has wronged them. They are usually jealous and possessive, and may become violent.

  • The Resentful Stalker: This person believes that they have been humiliated and they often seek revenge against anyone who may have hurt them. They are often paranoid and believe striking back will make them feel better. They are often the most dangerous because they can be obsessive. Workplace stalkers often fit into this category.
  • The Predatory Stalker: This type of stalker plans their attacks. They may be motivated by the idea of sexual gratification, and often have low self-esteem and poor social skills. They usually engage in voyeurism, follow their victims, and may place obscene phone calls.
  • The Intimacy Stalker: This stalker is often delusional, believing that their victim is in love with them. They may be a loner and see their victim as a partner in a love relationship that doesn’t exist. They can become violent and jealous, often sending gifts, calling, or showing up uninvited.
  • The Casual Acquaintance or Delusional Stalker: This stalker can become delusional from a seemingly casual encounter, believing that the person they just met is “meant for them”. They see even a small gesture or act of kindness as a sign. These stalkers can be very dangerous and often commit rape, sexual assault and even homicide. The victim’s workplace is often a target because they know the victim goes there every day.
  • The Stranger Stalker: This stalker picks a victim at random. This can be especially frightening because of the anonymity involved. The stalker may engage in fantasy about the victim, but the victim has no idea that they are being stalked, who is stalking them, or what might happen.
  • The Serial Stalker: This stalker is motivated by a pattern of behavior. They are obsessive and have stalked in the past.
  • The False Stalker/False Victim: This is the opposite of most stalkers, as false victims use a variety of situations to attract attention to themselves. They may harass their own family and friends in order to fabricate false evidence or witness reports. This type of stalker firmly believes that he or she is the real victim. They are often delusional.

Protecting an Employee Who is Being Stalked

Being aware and putting security measures in place might save you and your employees from a violent encounter.

If an employee is being stalked, take the necessary precautions to protect them and the workplace. Notify reception and security; make sure the employee has protection when coming and going to the parking lot. Keep all entry doors locked and use security measures when letting anyone on the premises.

Being aware and putting security measures in place might save you and your employees from a violent encounter.