Stalking can include following a person, watching or spying on them, or forcing contact (this can happen online and offline). If someone is repeatedly trying to make contact with you in person or in another way and this is making you feel upset or frightened, this is harassment. Victims of domestic abuse may be stalked by their abuser who may well be able to access technology and use it to continue their abuse, control or to track your movements. This quick guide to Staying Safe Online gives some useful advice around digital safety.
The term 'stalking' should not be used or taken lightly as the impact that stalking behaviour can have on someone could be devastating. A stalker can be someone you know, for example, an ex-partner or a complete stranger.
Any act or behaviour that causes fear, harassment or anxiety can be classed as stalking. Examples include (but are not limited to):
- Being followed.
- Having rumours spread about you.
- Seeing the same person in unexpected places or outside your home, work or child’s school.
- Being sent texts or receiving phone calls, texts, emails or letters repeatedly.
- Sending you unwanted gifts.
- Having property damaged.
- Being threatened.
- Using social media inappropriately to make contact.
- Harming a pet.
If you need help and advice about stalking you can contact the National Stalking Helpline. This video from the National Stalking Helpline highlights the help and support you can access via the helpline. If you are in immediate danger contact the police on emergency telephone 999.
You can also check out fact sheets on digital stalking created by Jennifer Perry.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust has lots of suggestions of things to think about in relation to your personal safety if you are, or think you are, being stalked.