Stalking can be defined as persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens twice or more, 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. What makes the problem particularly hard to cope with is that it can go on for a long period of time, making you feel constantly anxious and afraid. Sometimes the problem can build up slowly and it can take a while for you to realise that you are caught up in ongoing abuse. The problem isn’t always ‘physical’ — stalking can affect you psychologically as well. Social media and the internet are often used for stalking and harassment, and ‘cyber-stalking’ or online threats can be just as intimidating. If you think you might be experiencing harassment or stalking:
- Keep a diary of events. Write down the date, time, location and details of what happens. It’s also a good idea to include information about any other witnesses who can confirm what happened.
- Keep copies of letters, text messages and emails, and taking screenshots of other online messages (for example on Facebook).
- Notify the police about what is happening. Contact the non-emergency police number on 101, however, if you are in immediate danger call 999.
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