Stalking is fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated behaviour that makes you feel pestered and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens two or more times, directed at or towards you by another person, which causes you to feel alarmed or distressed or to fear violence might be used against you.

What makes stalking particularly hard to cope with is that it can go on for a long time, making you feel constantly anxious and afraid. Sometimes the problem can build up slowly and it can take a while for you to realise you’re caught up in an ongoing campaign of abuse.

Social media and the internet are often used for stalking, and ‘cyber-stalking’ or online threats can be just as intimidating. If you’ve been affected by cyber-stalking, you can get more information and safety tips from Get Safe Online.

If you’re experiencing persistent and unwanted attention, and the behaviour is making you feel fearful, harassed or anxious, then you are a victim of stalking. It’s not something you should have to live with, and we’re here to help you.

Stalking can happen to anyone. A stalker can be a former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, an acquaintance, work colleague, or a stranger.

Getting help is the first step in making it stop

As well as supporting you to cope and move on from the effects of this kind of crime, we can also help you to deal with the police if you decide to report incidents. We can also help with security measures in some cases.

One of the things that can make it difficult for police and others to deal with stalking is the continuous, repetitive nature of what may seem like small incidents. Helping the police and courts to see the bigger picture can make it much easier to deal with the offender’s behaviour.

Things you can do, straightaway, if you think you’re experiencing stalking include:

  • Keeping a diary of events. Write down the date, time, location and details of what happens. It’s also a good idea to include information about any other witnesses who can confirm what happened.
  • Keeping copies of letters, text messages and emails, and taking screenshots of other online messages (eg on Facebook).
  • Trying to get ‘evidence’ of any events that happen at your home – but be careful to do this discreetly and only if it’s safe to do so.

Stalking was made a criminal offence in England and Wales in November 2012. Two new offences were introduced: stalking, and stalking where there is a fear of violence. The changes were made under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

We can give you advice and the support you need to cope and move forward from stalking.

Having supported many other people in the same situation, we understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of stalking, and our staff and volunteers are here to help. The most important thing is to recognise you’re being targeted in this way, and take the first steps to deal with it as quickly as you can.

When you report a crime to the police, they should automatically ask if you’d like help from an organisation like Victim Support. But anyone affected by crime can contact us directly – you don’t need to talk to the police to get our help.

You can get in touch by:

You can also create a free account on My Support Space – an online resource containing interactive guides (including a guide on stalking) to help you manage the impact crime has had on you.

If English is not your first language and you would like support, call our Supportline and let us know which language you speak. We’ll call you back with an interpreter as soon as possible. We also welcome calls via Relay UK and SignLive (BSL).

Families and friends affected by crime can also contact us for support and information. If you’re a child or young person under 18 and are looking for support, visit our children and young people website for information and tips.