Stalking and Harassment
Stalking is criminal behaviour that is distressing and malicious - it’s something no one should have to put up with. It is against the law to stalk or harass someone, under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. Stalking became a criminal offence in November 2012.
If you feel you’re being harassed, report it. You’ll be supported by officers who will recognise that it may have been a big decision for you to come forward.
Be assured that we are committed to listening to you and understanding what you’re going through as we take action to help keep you safe.
What is harassment?
Harassment refers to any behaviour that causes a victim alarm, distress or puts them in fear of violence.
What is stalking?
Stalking is when someone shows persistent and unwanted attention towards a victim. When individual incidents are put together they can reveal a pattern of obsessive behaviour.
The incidents can cause a lot of distress, often because they are usually perpetrated by someone who knows the victim’s movements, habits, likes and dislikes, their friends and family, their strengths and weaknesses and their fears.
Any behaviour that causes you to feel unsafe is unacceptable. We are here to help – report it early on so that we can help you.
How do I know if something is stalking or harassment?
If you are experiencing the following, you should contact us:
- Are you very frightened?
- Have they turned up unannounced more than three times in a week?
- Have they damaged anything belonging to you?
- Have they followed you to your workplace or home?
- Have they made threats of physical or sexual violence?
- Do you know if they’ve harassed or stalked anyone else since the harassment began?
- Have they acted violently to anyone else during the stalking incident?
- Have they got other people to help them with their activities?
- Have they had problems in the past year with drugs, alcohol or mental health?
- Have they been in trouble with the police or do they have a criminal history?
What should I do if I’m being stalked or harassed?
It can be a difficult decision to come forward to seek support, but there are steps you can take to ensure your safety:
- Report it to the police and / or one of the organisations listed below.
- Speak to your friends and family about what’s happening.
- Keep a diary of incidents, including what happened and how it made you feel.
- Trust your instincts
- Keep all of the messages and items given to you (e.g. gifts) as evidence
- Be aware of how much of your personal information is online. Visit this page for more guidance about online safety.
How can victims of Stalking or Harassment get help?
If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking and harassment, please contact us immediately.
There are several ways to do this:
Always call 999 if you are in danger.
Once you have made a report, you will be contacted by a police officer who will talk with you and assess your immediate safety. They will investigate your report and support you.
Further Advice and Support
If you would like further information about stalking or harassment, there are several organisations that specialise in providing advice and support to victims.
The National Stalking Helpline provides advice and guidance to current or previous victims of stalking or harassment. The helpline can be contacted on 0808 802 0300.
Paladin support high risk victims of stalking with their specialist Independent Stalking Advocacy Caseworkers (ISAC) and ensure that a coordinated community response is developed locally to protect victims.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust provides practical personal safety advice.
Veritas Justice are a local organisation who provide practical support, advocacy and advice to victims of stalking and to professionals. They also provide a ‘Writing for Recovery’ group for victims of stalking.