What is Stalking?
What is stalking?
Stalking is illegal. In 2012, new legislation made stalking a specific criminal offence. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust defines stalking as: repeated, unwanted contact that occurs as a result of fixation or obsession and causes the victim(s) to feel distressed or fearful.
Stalking is characterised by obsession and is therefore a crime of persistence. Victims can be stalked for years with the average case lasting fifteen months. However, many cases last longer than this and 30% of people who contact the National Stalking Helpline have experienced stalking for over two years and a further 13% have been stalked for over five years . The average stalking victim experiences more than 100 incidents before they make a report to the police.
Who does it affect?
Stalking can happen to anyone. It affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men at some point in their lives. 1 in 25 women aged 16 - 59 are stalked every year.
80% of victims are stalked by someone they know, with the biggest category being ex partners which accounts for 40% of cases reported to the National Stalking Helpline.
Tips from Hampshire Constabulary to help protect you from cyber stalking:
- What already exists online about you? Google your name to find out - remove anything private or inappropriate.
- Ensure security software and apps are up to date, this will prevent someone getting spyware onto your computer.
- Be wary of publishing on social media where you are going and when.
- Avoid putting photos of yourself online which reveal details about your location i.e. school uniform, local bar etc.
- Use privacy settings online to limit who you share with online. Only share information about yourself with those you trust.
- Don't be afraid to report cyber-stalking to the police it is a crime and will be treated seriously.
The Suzy Lampard Trust has a range of advice on personal safety here: Suzy Lampard Trust personal saftey tips
Always call 999 if you feel you are in danger.
If you are safe you can call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 8020300