Advice for victims
If you are experiencing stalking, please do not suffer in silence. Name it. REPORT it.
Paladin provides advice to professionals and all survivors of stalking that contact our service. Survivors can contact us directly or be referred via professionals.
Referring to Paladin
For information on how to refer to Paladin, please visit our referral page.
Stalking is now a crime.
- Two new offences of stalking were introduced on November 25 2012. This was following a hugely successful Stalking Law Reform Campaign in Parliament spearheaded by Laura Richards and Harry Fletcher.
- Under the Protection from Harassment Act (PHA) 1997, (amended by Protection of Freedoms Act 2012) it is necessary to prove a course of conduct amounting to harassment (Section 2) or stalking (Section 2a) or fear of violence (Section 4) or stalking (Section 4a) which causes serious alarm or distress which has a substantial adverse effect on the victim’s usual day-to-day activities’ which the perpetrator knows or ought to know amounts to harassment or stalking or fear of violence.
- A course of conduct is conduct that occurs on at least two occasions. Most stalking cases should be arrested and charged at Section 4a. It also has a power of entry to perpetrator address. Section 2a allows for a warrant to search the perpetrator’s home address
However, there is still limited knowledge, awareness and education about stalking. Many people and agencies, including law enforcement, still do not fully understand stalking and harassment behaviours and the risks.
Reporting Stalking or Harassment
We can assure you that most police officers want to help, but they sometimes lack the tools and training needed. They may not understand how frightening it is when it is happening to you. Many might say that unless there is physical violence it is not so serious, but we know that this is not the case. Please review our 6 golden rules:
Report it as early as possible to the police and tell others what is happening
Proactive evidence collection – keep all the evidence
Overview of what is happening – keep a diary
Risk Checklist – complete the Stalking Risk and Needs screening questions
Trust your instinct
Effective Gathering of Evidence
If you intend to go to the police, you’ll need to provide evidence.
- Make sure you keep a diary of every incident, tape any phone calls – Stalking and Harassment Incident Diary Template
- Take screenshots of any emails and save copies of them.
- If you can, take photographs or video your stalker.
Practical Steps to Reduce Risk
If you fear you are being stalked:
- 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.
Cyber Safety/Stay safe online:
- Google yourself to check your digital footprint frequently
- Change passwords often and do not use the same password for everything.
- Check privacy settings on social networking sites and limit the amount of information you put on.
- Be aware of geo-location and tagging on social networking sites and ensure that this is disabled on your smartphone
- Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.
- Report stalking to website administrators.
- If you believe that your computer or smartphone has been hacked or compromised, stop using them immediately and take them to a specialist such as your mobile phone provider or computer repair experts for advice.
Further tools are available here:
- Stay Safe Online
- Facebook Safety Tools
- Safety and Privacy on Facebook: A Guide for Survivors of Abuse
- Privacy and Safety on Facebook
- Women’s Aid Guidance on Digital and Cyberstalking
- Stalking Investigations