What is stalking?

Stalking is one of the most frequently experienced form of abuse.  It is insidious and terrifying and can escalate to rape and murder.  Stalking is serious.  Stalking is not romantic, it is about fixation and obsession, it is unwanted and a repeated behaviour.  It is a crime.  It terrifies the victim.  It causes the victim to change their life.  It is a behaviour that the perpetrator knows or ought to know is unwanted.  It destroys lives.

Stalking can consist of a range of types of behaviour such as regularly sending flowers or gifts, texting when being told not to, continuing to contact after the police have warned against it, making unwanted or malicious comments, damaging property, tracking on social media, turning up unexpectedly, following on foot or in the car, physical or sexual assault. 

Changes to the law

In November 2012, two specific criminal offences of ‘stalking’ and ‘stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress’ came into force in England and Wales, along with additional related police search powers.  The criminal justice system needs to prove 2 things

  • It has happened on more than 2 occasions
  • It has impacted the victim - caused fear, alarm distress, fear of violence, and has and a substantial adverse effect on usual day-to-day activities'

Am I overreacting?

No. If you feel scared, worried or angered by the behaviour then you should not have to put up with it. Some people you talk to or turn to for support may lack the knowledge or understanding of how stalking can negatively impact on every aspect of your life, however that does not mean that you are overreacting.

Who can be a victim of stalking?

Anyone can become a victim of stalking.

Am I at risk?

A study on the relationship between stalking and homicide involving a female victim and male perpetrator, found that in 71% of cases the victim and perpetrator were in, or had previously had, an intimate relationship.

(Monckton Smith, J., Szymanska, K., and Haile, S. Exploring the Relationship between Stalking and Homicide (Published online: University of Gloucestershire, in association with Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 2017)

Taken in isolation, some of the behaviours may seem like small acts, but together they make up a consistent pattern of behaviour that is frightening and upsetting. It’s important to know that stalking is a criminal offence and because of this, if you go to the police they will take it seriously.

What can I do?

  • Report unwanted contact to the the police as Stalking
  • Keep incident numbers and names of the police officer
  • Keep a stalking log
  • Use home security camera/DASH cams for evidence
  • Screenshot everything and keep records of it
  • Report ALL further contact to police - even 1 single text
  • If the stalker makes further contact after police intervention - this is a risk as it shows a disregard for consequences - keep reporting.