What is stalking?
Stalking can be defined as a ‘pattern of fixated and obsessive behaviour which is repeated, persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders serious alarm or distress to the victim.’
Stalking affects everyone, including the families of victims. Currently, around 80% of stalking victims are women and 20% are men. More than 80% of people are stalked by someone they know, including ex-partners (45%), acquaintances (22%), former colleagues (5%) and family members (4%) (Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 2015). It is estimated that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 12 men are stalked at some point in their life, either physically or online.
Stalkers seek to intimidate victims through a range of behaviours, including:
- Sending unwanted letters or cards
- Sending unwanted emails, text messages or posts on social media
- Making unwanted phone calls
- Delivering unwanted gifts to a workplace or home
- Waiting outside someone’s home or workplace
- Following someone or spying on them
- Sharing intimate pictures of them without their consent, for example by text, on a website, or through social media
- Posting information publicly about someone, making public accusations or contacting someone’s employer
- Making threats.
What to do if you think you or someone you know is being stalked
Being stalked is a confusing and scary time for victims and their families. If you are in imminent danger, the best thing to do is call 999.
If you recognise the signs that you are being stalked:
- Do not engage with the stalker in any way.
- Begin to gather evidence of the stalking in the event that you alert the Police. This can include:
- Screenshots of texts, emails, social media posts
- Photos of unwanted letters, gifts or correspondence
- Taking notes of when incidents occur with locations and notes of how you it makes you feel at the time
- Begin to limit how much personal information you share online and take appropriate steps to secure your online profiles.
- Consider carrying a personal safety alarm to call for immediate assistance when in danger.
If you are being stalked, the National Stalking Helpline can offer free help and advice on 0808 802 0300.
At Safe Shores Monitoring, we exist to safeguard the safety and security of individuals exposed to risk, including victims of stalking. If you would like support, we can offer a customised, confidential and anonymised personal protection service to help you to feel safer and empower you to take back control. To have a confidential discussion of your needs, please contact us.
For further support and advice, please visit:
Action Against Stalking – https://www.actionagainststalking.org/
Suzy Lamplugh Trust – https://www.suzylamplugh.org/stalking-help-and-advice
The Stalking Prevention, Awareness and Resource Centre – https://www.stalkingawareness.org/what-to-do-if-you-are-being-stalked/
Victim Support Scotland – https://victimsupport.scot/