Stalking is a harrowing and pervasive issue that continues to affect individuals across the United Kingdom. It is a distressing crime that goes beyond mere unwanted attention, encompassing a pattern of repeated and persistent behaviour that instils fear and invades the personal space and privacy of its victims. In this article, we delve into the alarming prevalence of stalking in the UK, shed light on reporting mechanisms, and provide essential tips for individuals who suspect they are being stalked.

Understanding Stalking

Stalking is characterized by a relentless fixation or obsession of one individual with another, leading to a wide array of intrusive actions that disrupt the victim's life. These actions can include following, spying, making unsolicited contact, sending unwanted gifts, spreading false rumours, and monitoring the victim's online presence. The psychological impact on victims can be severe, causing heightened anxiety, stress, and a constant feeling of being unsafe.

The prevalence of stalking in the UK is concerning. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, an estimated 1.5 million adults experienced stalking in the year ending March 2021. Women are more likely to be victims, accounting for approximately three-quarters of reported cases. However, it is important to recognize that anyone can be a victim of stalking, regardless of gender or age.

How to Report If You Are Being Stalked

If you believe you are a victim of stalking, it is crucial to report the incidents promptly to the appropriate authorities. Reporting allows the authorities to take action and provides a legal record of the harassment, which can be instrumental in building a case against the perpetrator. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a UK charity that focuses on personal safety, offers comprehensive guidance on reporting stalking.

Here are the key steps to reporting stalking:

  • Collect evidence: Document all instances of stalking, including dates, times, locations, and descriptions of the incidents. Save any communication, such as emails, text messages, or voicemails, as evidence.
  • Inform the police: Contact your local police force as soon as possible and provide them with all the relevant information and evidence you have gathered. Be prepared to explain the impact the stalking has had on your well-being.
  • Seek support: Reach out to support organizations such as the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which can provide guidance, emotional support, and practical advice throughout the process.
  • Safety planning: Develop a safety plan with the help of professionals and trusted individuals to protect yourself from potential harm. This may include altering daily routines, increasing security measures, and notifying friends, family, and colleagues about the situation.

Tips and Advice for Those Suspecting Stalking

If you suspect that you are being stalked, it is essential to take your concerns seriously and seek assistance. The following tips, compiled by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, can help individuals better cope with a potentially dangerous situation:

  • Trust your instincts: If you feel that someone's behaviour is intrusive and unwanted, trust your gut feeling. Your intuition can be a valuable early warning system.
  • Document incidents: Maintain a detailed record of all stalking incidents, including dates, times, locations, descriptions, and any witnesses. This evidence will be invaluable if you decide to report the stalking.
  • Strengthen personal security: Take steps to enhance your personal security, such as varying your daily routines, securing your home, and considering self-defence classes. We also recommend the Holly Guard app which is a personal alarm, deterrent, evidence catcher and more. 
  • Limit personal information online: Be cautious about the personal information you share online. Adjust privacy settings on social media platforms and avoid posting location-specific details.
  • Inform trusted individuals: Share your concerns with family, friends, and colleagues. They can provide support and help monitor your safety.
  • Seek professional advice: Reach out to support organizations specialising in stalking or consult professionals such as the police, therapists, or legal advisors who can guide you through the process.

Stalking is a distressing crime that thrives on fear, obsession, and the violation of personal boundaries. By understanding the nature of stalking, recognizing the signs, and taking appropriate action, we can combat this pervasive issue. It is essential to report incidents of stalking to the police promptly and seek support from organizations like the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and The Alice Ruggles Trust, who provide invaluable guidance and assistance. Remember, your safety and well-being should always be the top priority.