Stalking and Harrassment
If you are worried that you are being stalked or harassed, it is important to get help. You can call the Sheffield Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 808 2411; they will take your worries seriously. Don’t pretend that it isn’t happening or hope it will go away.
It is hard to give an exact definition of stalking because stalkers will often use multiple and differing methods to harass their victims. Stalking can consist of a range of types of behaviour such as regularly sending flowers or gifts, making unwanted or malicious comments, damaging property and physical or sexual assault. If the behaviour is persistent and unwanted, causing you fear, or anxiety then it is stalking and you should not have to live with it.
Changes to the law
In November 2012, two specific criminal offences of ‘stalking’ and ‘stalking involving fear of violence or serious alarm or distress’ came into force in England and Wales, along with additional related police search powers.
Does it still count as stalking if it’s someone I know?
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. Just because you know or knew the stalker does not mean that the situation is your fault – it is still stalking and it is wrong.
Am I at risk?
Psychologists specialising in the field of stalking have developed a stalking risk checklist. It may be useful, that if you decide to report what has been happening to the police, you take the completed checklist with you and show it to a police officer. Follow this link to the checklist:
Am I overreacting?
No. If you feel scared, worried or angered by the behaviour then you should not have to put up with it. Some people you talk to or turn to for support may lack the knowledge or understanding of how stalking can negatively impact on every aspect of your life, however that does not mean that you are overreacting.
Who can be a victim of stalking?
Anyone can become a victim of stalking.
How long does stalking last?
There is no definite answer to this question.
Can stalking without violence still be damaging?
Yes. The absence of violence in a stalking case doesn’t mean the victim is unaffected. Stalking can cause severe psychological distress to a victim. Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, paranoia, agoraphobia and post-traumatic stress disorder are all common side effects of stalking.
What should I do if I think I may be a stalking victim?
Trust your instincts, if someone is making you feel scared or intimidated do not ignore these feelings, research indicates early intervention in a stalking case can stop it. If it is safe to do so and does not put you at greater risk, tell your stalker once clearly and firmly that you no longer wish to have any contact with them try not to engage with or meet them again, even if it is to tell them to leave you alone.
How can I get further advice or information?
You can also contact Paladin – the National Stalking Advocacy Service CIC, for further advice and information on 020 7840 8960 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at http://paladinservice.co.uk/. Paladin assists high risk victims of stalking throughout England and Wales.