Let's Talk Stalking
Our video highlights the FOUR behaviours to look out for:
Fixated: Being followed on your daily routine, spied on, or being watched by someone loitering around your work or home.
Obsession: Being monitored on or offline, cyberstalking, the ordering and cancelling of items on your behalf.
Unwanted attention: Gifts being sent or left for you; unwanted messages, letters or phone calls. Even damage or graffiti being caused to your property.
Repeated behaviour: This can be any nuisance or threatening behaviour, being approached, accosted or bullied repeatedly.
We want people to recognise the FOUR behaviours that are warning signs that someone is stalking you. This behaviour is NOT normal and it shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re experiencing this type of behaviour please seek help now. You can private message us on Facebook or Twitter, report it online or call 101. You should always call 999 in an emergency.
If you’re worried you’re being stalked keep a diary.
It’s important to keep a diary of evidence as early as possible in the event that you one day need to report stalking or harassment to the police. You don’t have to have a diary of evidence to report either but it will help the police prove to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that you are being stalked or harassed.
You can download a copy of an evidence log/stalking diary or from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
If you would prefer to make your own diary, include the following columns:
- Date and time
- What happened?
- Any evidence?
- Any police contact, actions or reference numbers
- Impact of incident
- Any changes you've made as a result of the contact
- Any impact on children, family or others.
If you have been sent gifts you should put them in a plastic bag and store them safely somewhere as evidence. If the gift is perishable, such as flowers, take a picture. You should take screenshots of any digital messages as evidence too and keep them stored somewhere safe.
What behaviours are stalking?
Stalking behaviours can include but are not limited to:
- Following, surveillance, spying
- Standing, loitering around your home, school, place of work etc
- Verbal abuse or public humiliation
- Unsolicited mail, postcards, photographs and gifts
- Repeatedly texting/emailing/leaving voicemails
- Planting spyware viruses into your computer
- Hacking into your computer, email, cameras and social media accounts
- Spreading rumours, discrediting
- Threats/violence against you, your family, friends or pets
- Physical violence, sexual assault, rape, murder
- Befriending your friends, family to get closer to them
- Going through rubbish bins; leaving offensive material in the garden
- Breaking into your car, home or office and/or damaging property
- Declarations of love and communications indicating they are in some sort of relationship with you
- Cyber stalking, bullying and identify theft - social networks (including create fake accounts), websites, forums, chat rooms, instant messaging
There are a number of charities you can call for advice if you’re being stalked, or you can visit their websites for some guidance. They can also help if you’re worried about someone’s behaviour towards someone you know, such as a friend, colleagues or family member.
The National Stalking Helpline is run by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, you can find out more here.
New Era provides emotional support and all sorts of practical help to victims of stalking in Staffordshire. They can provide safety planning advice but do not provide counselling but can signpost. They can be contacted on 0300 303 3778.
Paladin is a charitable company and a trauma-informed service established to assist high risk victims of stalking in England and Wales. They can be contacted on 020 3866 4107 (their line is open 9am to 3pm weekdays except for Wednesdays when it is open 10am to 5pm). If you are unable to call within these hours you can email email@example.com and they will try and make arrangements for a call at a convenient time. See more information.
In 2014 Hollie Gazzard, a 20-year-old hairdresser from Gloucester, was killed by her ex-partner and stalker Asher Maslin. In the aftermath of her death her family decided to do something positive as a legacy to her. They began the Hollie Gazzard Trust with the aim of raising money for young people's programmes, working with local colleges and organisations to help those who don’t have the resources to fulfil their ambitions.
They also produced Hollie Guard, an app which transforms your phone into a personal safety device. More information can be found here.
Stalking can often be combined with other offences, and develop following them. For example, it can be very closely linked to coercive control, which can include mind games and entrapment, isolating the victim and intimidating them so they don’t seek help.
How is stalking different to harassment?
Stalking is different to harassment as it relates to fixation and obsession rather than nuisance behaviour. The behaviours listed in the section above can be classed as harassment as well.
Harassment can become stalking when underpinned by persistent and unwanted behaviour. If someone is making you feel distressed, humiliated or threatened then this could be harassment. You can report this to us online, by calling 101 or visiting a police station.
If you think you're being harassed because of your race, disability, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity you can report this to police as a hate crime.
Stalking can often begin after a relationship ends, and can follow on from controlling behaviour during the relationship. More information can be found on coercive control here.