Stalking and Harassment
Stalking is a criminal offence. It’s defined as a type of harassment – but the difference is that stalking is about fixation and obsession.
Gloucestershire has adopted the following definition of stalking:
“A pattern of unwanted fixated and obsessive behaviour involving the intrusive following, contacting or monitoring of the victim causing fear of violence and serious alarm or distress.”
Stalking behaviours come in many different forms. Examples include:
-Making repeat telephone calls
- Sending repeat texts
- Sending repeat messages via social media sites
- Repeatedly posting about the victim on social media
- Blackmailing the victim – including using intimate images (revenge porn)
-Following a victim
-Loitering around a victim’s work or home address
-Tracking a victim – via car, or digital devices such as phone or fitbit etc
-Hacking a victim’s digital devices
-Criminal damage – slashing car tyres; damaging property
-Making vexacious complaints about a victim
-Cancelling goods or services or ordering them on behalf of a victim
11 questions that help identify risk in stalking:
- Are you very frightened?
- Has the person harassed/stalked you or someone else before?
- Has the person ever destroyed or vandalised your property?
- Does the person visit your home/work more than 3 times per week?
- Has the person loitered around your home/ work?
- Has the person made any threats of sexual or physical violence against you?
- Has the person stalked/harassed any third party since the harassment began?
- Has the person acted violently towards other people?
- Has the person persuaded other people to help him/her?
- Is the person known to be abusing drugs/ alcohol?
- Is the person known to have been violent in the past?
If you are being stalked REPORT
Report it and tell others – report to the police and ensure other people know what’s happening e.g. family, friends, school, workplace
Proactive evidence collection –keep all messages/gifts etc to preserve evidence. You can film or video the stalker or if you are followed in a car drive to an area where you know there is plenty of CCTV for example
Overview – keep a diary. Log what’s happening including time, date and details of what happened
Risk checklist – complete the S-DASH checklist for completion by victims
Trust your instinct and never make contact with your stalker. If you are worried or frightened call the police or go to safe place. Ensure you do not contact or respond to the stalker in any other way.