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

Get help

Always call 999 if you feel you are in danger.

If you are safe you can call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 8020300


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