What is Stalking?

Posted April 17, 2021 by

When many people think of the word stalking, they envision the image of the scary man hiding in bushes watching a young woman. In fact stalking is so much more than this. Stalking is often described by our clients as terrifying, intrusive. Often victims feel a sense of loss of control and privacy, something that very often has a long term negative impact in many areas of their lives.

What is stalking?

At Aurora, we use the definition from our colleagues at the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, who run the National Stalking Helpline:

“A pattern of fixated and obsessive behaviour which is repeated, persistent, intrusive and causes fear of violence or engenders alarm and distress in the victim.”

We also think of it this way – An imposition of a relationship where one would not otherwise exist.

Stalking is a very unique crime which occurs outside of the context of a relationship. It is driven by a fixation and obsession of the stalker on their victim.

Whilst we do often see similar behaviour in abusive relationships where digital and physical monitoring behaviours are present, stalking occurs where there is no relationship. Stalking can start after the end of a relationship, however for the victim the relationship is no longer there – the stalker is trying to impose that relationship and contact on their victim regardless of whether they want it. It is also important to understand that not all stalking is perpetrated by ex-partners. There are many reasons why someone may stalk someone else. A stalker could be an ex-partner, a previous friend, a colleague, a neighbour, an acquaintance or a stranger.

Due to the nature of stalking, all stalking incidents are different and create a long term pattern of behaviour. This behaviour can last for a number of weeks, months and unfortunately even years. In place since 2012, Stalking legislation in England and Wales outlines examples of behaviours that we often see throughout stalking conduct. The behaviours include, but are not limited to, watching or spying on someone, following them, contacting them directly or via other people, loitering and interfering with property.

woman being stalked

What can you do if you think you are being stalked?

If you think you are being stalked:

  • Keep a record of what is happening, including screenshots/copies of all messages, texts, pictures sent etc.
  • Keep a timeline of the conduct and how it makes you feel. Write down if you have had to change any of your routines and how the behaviour has affected your day to day life.
  • Consider backing up emails and messages by using Dropbox or setting up a completely separate, secure email address to forward information on to so that it is safely stored. You can take screenshots and store these too.
  • Take photos of any physical evidence and keep them as well to give to the police if needed.
  • Consider reporting to the police. We understand that the idea of reporting to the police can be a scary thought and may not be right for everyone. Our stalking advocates at Aurora New Dawn are available to discuss this process and support you if you do decide to report at any time.
  • Consider your online privacy settings and devices. We have also written a cyber-stalking blog that provides some great tips of ways to ensure that you have the knowledge to keep safe online should you be afraid that you are being stalked.
  • Talk to those you trust about the situation. We know it can be difficult to open up to those around you about what you are going through and you may have concerns around this. Your trusted ones will be able to provide you with a support network and may be able to help come up with ideas to keep you safe.
  • If you are concerned about your safety at work, have a discussion with your workplace to make them aware of the situation. There may be extra safeguarding that your workplace can assist with, such as car park space closer to the building or an escort to your car after work. Not everyone feels comfortable beginning this conversation so this is something we can support with or can even have the conversation with your workplace on your behalf.
  • You may wish to consider buying a Ring doorbell camera or CCTV for your property.
  • Download the Hollie Guard app – the app can be downloaded directly from your phone’s app store.
  • Register your number with the emergency SMS service which means you can contact 999 via text message. More information on how this works and how to set this up can be found here

Where can you get help?

If you are concerned that you are being stalked or would like to speak to anyone about these issues please do not hesitate to contact us at Aurora New Dawn. We are here to offer support to all victims of supporting. We are here and we believe you.

Contact Number – 02392 479 254

24 hour helpline – 02394 216 816

We are also available via all social media outlets – just DM us.

Helpful websites for stalking issues:

Aurora’s Stalking Service https://www.aurorand.org.uk/services/help-stalker
Paladin – National Stalking Advocacy Service https://paladinservice.co.uk/
Cyber Stalking Helpline https://www.thecyberhelpline.com/cyberstalking-action-plan
National Stalking Helpline https://www.suzylamplugh.org/refer-someone-to-us
South East Regional Organised Crime Unit https://serocu.police.uk/individuals/

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About the author

Writer in Residence

Sarah Cheverton is Aurora New Dawn's Writer in Residence and a freelance writer and researcher. As well as writing the copy for the Aurora website, Sarah works with the Aurora team on consultation responses, communications and service evaluations. She also works as a Co-Editor for feminist news site Women's Views on News.

See all of Writer in Residence's articles — 91 total

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