What is harassment?
Harassment is when a person's unwanted repeated behaviour causes the victim alarm or distress.
Although harassment is not specifically defined, it can include repeated and unwanted communications and contact in a manner that could cause distress or fear.
What is stalking?
Taken in isolation certain behaviour might seem unremarkable. But in the particular circumstances and with repetition, they might take on a more sinister meaning.
Stalking is not legally defined, but can include behaviour such as:
- Ccontacting/attempting to contact the victim
- Publishing statements or material about the victim
- Monitoring the victim (including online)
- Loitering in a public or private place
- Interfering with property
- Watching or spying
This is a non-exhaustive list and other behaviours, which are not described above, may also be seen as stalking.
Can stalking only be done by a stranger?
When many people hear the word stalking they still think of a stranger lurking in the shadows or a delusional fan following a celebrity. Whilst these cover some stalking scenarios they are by no means the majority.
About 40 per cent of people who make a report are being stalked by ex-partners. A further third have had some sort of prior acquaintance with their stalker; they may have dated or been a friend.
Just because you know/knew the stalker does not mean that the situation is your fault - it is still stalking and it is wrong.
To report harassment or stalking please contact us. If you feel in immediate danger please call 999.
Information that could help us
- Keep a diary of the stalking incidents, making a note of the time and date. Make the diary entry whilst it is all fresh in your mind.
- Gather evidence and document everything. Keep texts, e-mails, letters, notes, faxes, ‘gifts’. Preserve any ‘gifts’ or packages that are sent to you. Box them up or if they are perishable bag them up and place them in the freezer. Record the date and time they were sent/left.
- Record anything that is happening to you on a camera/video. You can record conversations on your mobile phone.
- Inform people around you – family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues. Ask them to record sightings, if they are approached by your stalker or what is said to them by the stalker.
To seek further advice and guidance, you can also call the National Stalking Helpline:
0808 802 0300