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Stalking and harassment

Stalking can happen to anyone and it is a criminal offence.

If you are in immediate danger always call 999

The definition of stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted behaviour that causes a person to feel distressed or in fear. It does not necessarily mean someone being violent towards you.

Stalking can be someone giving you persistent and unwanted contact that is causing you to feel upset.

It can take many different forms, some of which include; following, contacting, publishing material relating to the victim, monitoring, loitering, interfering with property and watching or spying.

Types of stalkers

Rejected by victim

The victim is an ex intimate partner.  These stalkers will deny the end of the relationship.  They are often sane but angry.  They will respond to sanctions but believe that they are entitled to their partner. Early intervention is key to prevent the stalking and protect the victim.

Intimacy seeker

Intimacy stalkers believe they are in a relationship with their victim. This fictional pseudo relationship can be with anyone.  Such a relationship can develop with anyone with whom they have had contact with.  Such victims can range from a dentist to a celebrity.

Incompetent suitor

Such stalkers will not have the skills to pursue a relationship, but do so anyway.  They do not have the basic skills to develop and maintain a relationship. These stalkers are resentful, often typified by targeting professionals who have let them down whom they blame them for everything that has gone wrong with them.  They seek to terrify and control.

Cyber stalkers

Cyber stalking is threatening behaviour or unwanted advances directed at another using the internet and other forms of computer communications. This may take the form of identity theft, posting false profiles, provoking others to attack others by attacking the victim, direct threats through email and messaging.

Know the law

If you are being stalked, there is help available and its a good idea to know the law and use the law.

Visit the Crown Prosecution Service website for further information.

The Protection from Harassment Act of 1997 made stalking a specific offence. The law provides two sections that enable police to deal with cases of stalking. Section 2A labels stalking as a criminal offence and section 4A deals with stalking that causes fear of violence or serious distress.

Action

Gather evidence

It’s a good idea to gather evidence of the stalking you are experiencing by writing down as much information as you can about the incidents and document what it happening to you.

Evidence can include phone records, emails, text messages, screenshots of any social media posts or pages, messages, letters or gifts.

It’s also helpful to keep a diary of the incidents connected to the stalking and write your thoughts and feelings down as soon after the incident as possible to record how it made you feel at the time.

Contact the Police

You can contact the police either by coming along to a police station or calling 101 and speaking to one of your local officers.

It would be helpful if you can provide the police with as much information about the incidents as possible and provide them with all the evidence you have collated.

  • If you are in immediate danger always call 999.
  • Don’t speak to or engage with your stalker.
  • If you are happy to – speak to friends, neighbours, work colleagues about what is happening to you. They may be able to offer further evidence or put some protective measures in place to support you.
  • Trust your instincts – if it doesn’t feel comfortable then let someone know.
  • Be aware of you online profile and how much information you make public.
  • Make sure your personal data is safe. Change your password frequently.
  • Consider carrying a personal alarm or download a personal safety app like Hollie Guard on your smart phone..
  • Ensure your property is safe and window and doors are locked and secure.

National Stalking Helpline

The National Stalking Helpline is the first dedicated information and advice service for people affected by stalking or harassment.  Helpline staff will provide practical advice to people about personal safety, how to collect evidence and what to do about different stalking behaviours.

Phone: 0808 202 0300
Email: advice@stalkinghelpline.org
Website: www.stalkinghelpline.org

Paladin – Stalking Advocacy Service

Paladin National Stalking and Advocacy service has been established to support and assist high risk victims of stalking. A number of Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers (ISACs) ensure high risk victims of stalking are supported and that a coordinated community response is developed locally to keep victims and their children safe.

The police will share information with PALADIN with the consent of the victim. Paladin will share information with the police with the consent of the victim.

Phone: 0207 8408960

Protection Against Stalking (PAS)

Email:  info@protectionagainststalking.org
Website: www.protectionagainststalking.org

Network for Surviving Stalking (NSS)

Website: https://www.scaredofsomeone.org/

Taking stalking seriously[pdf]