Stalking and harassment
Stalking and harassment are typically caused by the same person and are very similar in that both create on-going problems for victims, .
Individual incidents taken on their own might not seem too serious, such as a rude remark in the street or persistent phone calls, but they can also involve deeply traumatic events – threats of violence, aggression, criminal damage and worse.
What makes the problem particularly hard to cope with is that it can go on over a long period of time, making victims constantly anxious and afraid. Sometimes the problem can build up slowly and it can take a while for the victim to realise that they are caught up in an on-going campaign of abuse. The problem isn't always 'physical' because of the internet and 'cyber-stalking' or online threats can be just as intimidating for the victim.
How we help
As with all crimes, we can give you both practical help and support to help you find the strength to go on. We understand what it's like to be on the receiving end of stalking or harassment from dealing with countless other victims and we won't need convincing that you need help. We can also help you find ways to put an end to the problem. The most important thing is to recognise that you are being targeted in this way and to take steps to deal with as quickly as you can.
Some practical ideas
One of the things that can make it difficult for police and others to deal with harassment and stalking is the 'drip, drip, drip' nature of the 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 are suffering harassment or stalking include:
- Keeping a diary of events. Write down the date, time, location and details of what happened. It's also a good idea to include information about any other witnesses who can confirm what happened.
- Keeping copies of letters, text messages, emails and take screen prints 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. Waving a camera at someone who is harassing you is unlikely to help and could make things worse.
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.
Getting help is the first step in making it stop
As well as giving you emotional support to deal with the upset and trauma of being a victim of this kind of crime, we can also give you practical help. This can include helping you to deal with the police if you decide to report incidents. We can also help with security measures in some cases.
The witness service can support you at court if the offender goes to trial.