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Stalking

Stalking

"It is not romantic. It is about fixation and obsession." (Paladin)

Stalking is a serious offence governed under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. There does not need to have been a relationship between the victim and the abuser.

Harassment:

Harassment is the repeated and unwanted behaviours by a perpetrator causing the victim to feel alarm or distress.

Stalking:

The Protection from Harassment Act was amended in 2012 to encompass stalking: section 2A stalking and section 4A stalking. Section 2A refers to an offender per suing a course of conduct (2 or more incidents) which amounts to harassment and that the particular harassment can be described as stalking behaviour.  

Stalking is not legally defined but the amendments include a list of example behaviours: contacting/attempting to contact, 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 which means that behaviour which is not described above may also be seen as stalking.

Section 4A is stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm of distress. Again serious alarm and distress is not defined but can include behaviour which causes the victim to suffer emotional or psychological trauma or have to change the way they live their life.

Elements stalking could include (note this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Driving past or appearing at victims location, home or workplace
  • Sending unwanted gifts
  • Damaging victim's property
  • Persistent phone calls, text messages, emails, letters or notes
  • Breaking into the victim's home or car
  • Threats of harm to the victim or their friends or relatives
  • Following or watching the victim
  • Gathering information on the victim
  • Publishing something pretending to be the victim
  • Monitoring the victims use of the internet, email or phone
  • Threatening to self harm/commit suicide to coerce the victim to have contact with the offender
  • Harassing the victim's relatives, friends and colleagues

Domestic abuse - help available
Domestic abuse - help available

What to do if you are being harassed or stalked?

Try to keep a record of what is happening: where, when - every time you were followed, phoned, received post or e-mail. The more evidence we have the more opportunity to prosecute the offender. Keep a diary, store messages and emails, tell friends and neighbours what is happening. Screen your calls. Do not engage with the offender. Report the matter to the Police and seek advice from one of the below agencies:

Paladin

Paladin is a trauma-informed service established to assist high risk victims of stalking in England and Wales. Their team of accredited Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers (ISACs) ensure that high risk victims of stalking are supported and that a coordinated community response is developed locally to keep victims and their children safe. Paladin can provide advice around the effective gathering of evidence, practical steps to reduce risk and staying safe online.

Protection Against Stalking

Suzy Lamplugh Trust

National Stalking Helpline

Samaritans

Samaritans offer a safe place for you to talk any time you like, in your own way - about whatever's getting to you.

Victim Support

National Centre for Domestic Violence

24 hour emergency service - free legal advice for help getting an injunction.

National Domestic Violence Helpline (24 hour)

Freephone 24 hour helpline run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge

Galop

The LGBT+ anti-violence charity. Emotional and practical support for LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse.

Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse Helpline:

The aim of Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse is to tackle domestic abuse by increasing the information and support available to victims, their friends and family, young people and to abusers.