Crime Types – Stalking & Harassment
What is Stalking?
Stalking is unwanted and repeated behaviour that causes fear, harassment or anxiety. This behaviour includes regularly sending unwanted gifts or malicious communications, damaging property and physical or sexual assault.
Stalking and harassment is conduct directed at or towards an individual by another that causes a victim to feel that violence may be used against them or another person, or causes the victim to feel afraid, alarm and distressed.
There will be different motivations for an offenders behaviour. This may include revenge, retribution, loneliness, resentment, a desire for reconciliation, response to a perceived insult or humiliation or a desire for control. Some perpetrators’ behaviour will be driven by mental health issues. It encompasses a wide range of behaviours that can often have a devastating effect on its victims. It is repeated behaviour that is unwanted by the victim and causes them to have a negative reaction in terms of distress.
An offender can behave in various different ways, some examples below
Frequent, unwanted contact for example; Appearing at the home or workplace of the victim, telephone calls, text messages or other contact, such as via the internet (ie. social networking sites).
Remember that domestic stalkers are the most dangerous group of stalkers. A prior intimate relationship is the most powerful predictor of violence in stalking cases as there could be a shorter duration of stalking along with rapid escalation, which could signal a ‘high’ risk of serious harm.
Research shows that those who are at the highest risk of assault are ex-intimates who have been threatened, in whom the stalking has continued for most than two weeks. Remember to save any messages, make note of calls and any other correspondence. Write down date, time, location, any witnesses, what happened, how it made you feel and if you have reported to the police.
Information source: Staffordshire Police Website: Stalking and Harassment (updated 061218)
What to do?
To help to keep yourself safe it is best not to respond to the offender. Tell the offender ONCE that you do not want to be contacted by them, then do not respond to any further advances. It will also help if you keep all messages, sightings and information safe. This will help the police carry out their investigations. Do not delete messages even if they are offensive.
Contact the police about any stalking incidents, threats and assaults. If your safety is at risk do not hesitate to call 999. Don’t forget stalking and harassment is an offence and the police can take action.
Protection Against Stalking 0808 8020 300
Paladin 0207 840 8960
National Stalking Helpline 0808 802 0300
Crime Prevention Information
It may be useful to you to have some advice on crime prevention to see what you can do to protect yourself in the future. You can find lots of useful information on local crime prevention by clicking here: https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/crimeprevention
For more help and support on any of the above, please contact Staffordshire Victim Gateway.
7 in 10 people who use our Victim Gateway service are happy with the outcome.