Anyone can be a victim of stalking. Kylie Minogue is the latest high profile celebrity that has had to deal with a stalker repeatedly approaching her London home in a sustained campaign of harassment against her.
Sometimes, situations like this can feel like you have lost all control, trapped with no way of escaping the situation. Stalking doesn’t just have to be in person though, nor is it confound to your home life. It can occur electronically and in the workplace.
Since November 2012, stalking is a criminal offence in England and Wales. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 introduced two new offences. These new offences were the introduction of stalking and stalking where there is a fear of violence.
Stalking can be defined as persistent and unwanted attention, 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 that violence might be used against you.
It can go on for a long time and therefore make you feel constantly anxious and afraid. Sometimes the problem can build up gradually. It can take you a while to realise that this is happening to you. Stalking and harassment also happen via social media and the internet, with cyber-stalking or online threats being just as intimidating and devastating.
Due to the continuous and repetitive nature of what may seem like small incidents, sometimes it is hard for the police and other to deal with . It’s not that they don’t understand how difficult it is, it is more a difficulty in building up the evidence to help them.
There are some things that you can do right now, such as;
Keeping a diary of events. Write down the date, time, location and details of what happens. If you can, include any information of witnesses who can confirm what happened.
Keeping copies of letters, text messages and emails and take screenshots of other online messages (such as 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.