I am now petitioning the good list for ideas. On one of the lists I frequent, the following question was posed, and I offer my response for criticism and/or your enjoyment.
Here's a little background:
Ann and Bart are separated, they have two young girls (aged 7 and 4). Bart has been convicted of trespassing, breaking and entering, I don't know all the stuff he was charged with. He was charged, he was caught stalking and then breaking into a woman's bedroom (she wasn't his wife and she wasn't home). That was one count.
Since his conviction Ann has sought to divorce him and protect her girls from this pervert. Her lawyer told her to get a protection order. He has since been stalking her, driving by places she
frequents (school,church,store). Yesterday she came to my wife asking her for help. Aside from not wanting to be in the middle of a marital, spat I have no problem helping people out. Unfortunately I have no idea what to tell her. I've recommended self defense classes and FAS women's classes. She is not opposed to purchasing a gun for protecting her and the girls, although she's never held/fired a gun.
I humbly ask the list to correct me where I stray, but...
"Ann" has three strategic tracks she needs to pursue more or less at the same time, and all of them engender some degree of change and/or discomfort.
1) Life Changes - time for a new place to live, new school, new church and new shopping choices, and ideally a new car. These may not be fiscally practical, in whole or in part, but the more of this sort of "profile change/reduction" that she can accomplish, the better. If a womens shelter needs to be involved as a stopping place in this sequence, so be it - but be aware that many of them have "no weapons" (aka Victim Vulnerability Enhancement) policies. Remember, the first and best self defense strategy is "be someplace else when bad things are happening".
2) I've heard so many good things about Gila Hayes at FAS that a good percentage must be true. If at all possible, let Gila provide training and assist "Ann" in selecting a firearm that "Ann" is comfortable with - she's busy being traumatized by a guy, so a female instructor is a better bet for warm fuzzies. If possible, have your wife take her down and start the process to get a CPL tomorrow (in Seattle, "Ann" will wait every single one of the thirty days before a permit is granted).
3) Get the No Contact Order and document the bejeezus out of things. Install video cameras around the house exterior if possible, and ideally on a 72hr "tape-over" cycle.
4) Install and use a quality monitored alarm system, if she hasn't already, and ensure that there are Panic Buttons as part of the system. Have and practice "home emergency plans". Home emergency plans include Fire/Medical/Intruder, at a minimum. Put the best alarm system she can on the car, ideally including GPS location and disabling technology.
5) If she can, plant thorny itch plants beneath or in front of all windows. I rather like japanese climbing rose, poison oak, and other friendly flora. When I lived in the desert, I carefully nurtured barrel cactus beneath my windows.
Note: I'm not a lawyer. I'm not an expert. Your mileage may vary. Cross-reference all such advice, there is no "one true path".