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What is stalking? And how do you know if you’re being stalked?

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

On 25th November 2012 the law for stalking was introduced in the UK. Every year, women are killed by stalkers, the figures tell us that 40% of those murdered, had also been stalked.

So what is stalking? Stalking is defined as a “A pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive and causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress”. So, a person becomes fixated or obsessed with another, and the attention is unwanted. Stalking behaviour can be unwanted communications, which is anything from telephone calls and various types of messaging to sending gifts or leaving graffiti. There are also unwanted intrusions, which include waiting for you, spying on, approaching and entering your home. Additionally, the stalker may make complaints to legitimate bodies, cyber stalk, or make threats, damage property or even use violence.

Even if there is no threat stalking is still a crime.

Often stalkers are ex-partners that have been abusive, after I split from my ex for six months he stalked and harassed me. He would call me constantly; I would wake up to over 30 missed calls, and during the day it was even worse. If he couldn’t get me on the phone, he would call my work, or use Facebook. He left devices in my home and car to record me, he hid in my garden at night, he hid in my neighbour’s bushes watching me, he kept turning off the gas to my home so he had an excuse to come and fix it, he used access to my daughter to just turn up. It finally escalated to the point of him battering in my front door with a concrete block, attacking and head-butting me, which caused me to have 12 stitches in my forehead.

I didn’t realise that what my ex was doing was stalking, so I never reached out for any support and I didn’t report him to the police, I thought it was him being his usual overbearing, controlling self and I actually didn’t see anything wrong with the “hundreds” of missed calls, to me this was normal. But this is not normal, this behaviour is actually illegal. If a person contacts you repeatedly, and it’s unwanted contact, then this is harassment and stalking (see my previous blog about reporting crime to the police).

Stalking can look like:

  • Repeatedly receive calls and/or hang-up

  • Texting you excessively, especially cross all social media platforms

  • Following you and showing up wherever you are

  • Sending unwanted gifts,letters, cards, or emails

  • Damaging your home, car, or other property

  • Monitor your phone calls, computer use, and tracking where you go

If you are being stalked its vital you start gathering evidence, because if you do go to the police, this is what they will ask for, so

  • Make sure you keep a diary of every incident, here is a link to a handy “Stalking & Harassment Diary

  • Record phone calls.

  • Take screenshots of any emails and save copies of them.

  • If you can, and its safe, take photographs or video of your stalker.

Some practical steps you can take to stay safe are:

  • Tighten up security at home, to and from home, and at work. Change the locks to your home and if you can, install a burglar alarm or camera.

  • Vary your daily routine if walking or driving to work or other places.

  • Be careful when giving out personal details when on the phone, dealing with credit card services, social networking sites and people you meet.

  • Tell people what is happening to you, particularly at work and at home.

If this is happening to you, you are not alone as Paladin are an advocacy service and can help you if are experiencing this. I wish I had known about them when I was being stalked by my ex.

So if you are being stalked and you are based in the UK, you can call Paladin on 020 3866 4107. If you are based in the US, you can call the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime on 855 484 2846.

If you need emotional support, I can help you, so why don’t you book in for your free consultation and have a chat with me about my 1-2-1 coaching services and how I can help you heal and thrive after abuse.

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