Stalking and Harassment
What is Stalking?
Stalking is the repeated and persistent unwanted behaviour from someone that is intrusive and can make you feel harassed and afraid.
Stalking can happen to anyone and is where one person becomes fixated or obsessed with another with the stalker often using multiple and different methods to harass the victim.
A stalker may not make threats towards you but as a victim of stalking you may feel scared. It is important to know that threats are not required for the criminal offence of stalking to be prosecuted.
Stalking can consist of any type of behaviour such as:
- Persistent phone calls, text messages, emails, letters or notes.
- Sending of gifts - from the seemingly "romantic" (i.e. flowers and/or chocolates) to the bizarre.
- Breaking into your home or car.
- Waiting at your workplace, home or neighbourhood.
- Gathering information on you: contacting people who know you; searching public or personal records, even the dustbin, for information.
- Surveillance: persistently watching you, using cameras, audio equipment and phone tapping, or bugging your home or workplace.
- Manipulative behaviour : threatening to commit suicide in order to coerce you to intervene- forcing contact with the stalker).
- Threats and violence: the stalker uses threats to frighten you; vandalism and property damage, physical attacks or sexual assaults.
- Cyberstalking: using the internet to pursue, harass or contact you.
Stalking was made a criminal offence in England and Wales in November 2012. Two new offences were introduced: stalking, and stalking where there is a fear of violence. The changes were made under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.
Support for victims of stalking
Stalking can seem trivial at first but if someone’s behaviour patterns are upsetting or frightening you, take it seriously.
You may find it difficult to tell other people about what is happening. Perhaps you’re worried about what they will say? Whether they will believe you? Think you are making a fuss about nothing? It is important to tell people, your safety may depend upon other people knowing.
If you think you are a victim of stalking, you can report it to the police using 101 or 999 in an emergency.
You can also use our service directory to find organisations which will be able to provide you with support, advice and practical tips on dealing and coping with stalking.