INFORMATION FOR STALKING VICTIMS
If you are being stalked, it is important to take action as soon as possible to end the stalking. Victims of stalking often delay seeking help because they feel they may be over-reacting, that they may have encouraged the stalker in some way, or that they will otherwise be blamed for their situation. Some have already been blamed or criticised, by professionals, the police or even their family and friends. It is crucial that victims understand that they are not to blame for their stalkerâ€™s disturbed behaviour, and they are not alone in their experience.
The following strategies have assisted victims of stalking. They are not exhaustive and not every tip is applicable to all stalking situations. More information is available in the website and books listed below.
Stalking thrives when victims suffer in silence. Stalking is now a criminal offence in most parts of the world and should be reported to the police. Police vary in their knowledge of stalking and it is often necessary to insist on speaking to a more senior officer.
Victims should also inform family and friends, as well as other parties who need to be alerted to the stalkerâ€™s activities (e.g. flatmates, work colleagues, neighbours, school or day care provider.)
Victims should attend to their home and work security, and as far as possible try to ensure that their personal information is removed from the public domain. A post office box removes the victimâ€™s home address from mailing lists and prevents the theft of important documents from the letter box. It is wise to obtain an unlisted telephone number.
Avoiding Contact and Confrontation
The victim should convey a clear message to their stalker that the contact is unwanted, and there should be no further negotiation thereafter. Similarly, returning the stalkerâ€™s gifts and letters, answering phone calls or responding to email is only maintaining the â€œrelationshipâ€. Victims should never retaliate against their stalker, even through well meaning friends, no matter how intense and understandable their urge to do so.
It is crucial to document every incident (e.g. by keeping a stalking diary). All evidence should be retained, including any photographic evidence and witness statements. Victims are encouraged to keep a copy of important stalking related documents at a separate, secure site.
Victims of stalking commonly experience a range of emotional reactions and impairment in many areas of their life, including relationships and work. Some fear they are losing their mind. Professional counselling can assist victims to better understand their situation, regain control over their lives and restore trust in others.
The National Stalking Helpline
Telephone: 0300 636 0300 www.stalkinghelpline.org – Practical advice and information to anyone who is currently or previously has been affected by harassment or stalking.
Protection Against Stalking
www.protectionagainststalking.org – Protection against Stalking (formerly The CRT Trust) works jointly with relevant agencies to increase awareness of Stalking and Harassment to ensure victims receive all the protection and help they need to rebuild their lives and live free of fear.
Network for Surviving Stalking
www.nss.org.uk – The charity Network for Surviving Stalking represents UK stalking victims and their families. Established by stalking victim Tracey Morgan 9 years ago, NSS listens to the views of victims and professionals and uses their knowledge and experience to help others. NSS helps run the National Stalking Helpline.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust
Telephone: 020 7091 0014
www.suzylamplugh.org – This organisation aims to create a safer society and enable everyone to live safer lives. It works for the reduction, and fear of, crime against the person through campaigning for policy and legislative change, research, training, and advice.
Telephone: 0845 30 30 900 www.victimsupport.org.uk – Helpline for anyone affected by crime.
Michele PathÃ© (2002) Surviving Stalking. Cambridge University Press. A detailed guide for stalking victims.
Paul Mullen, Michele PathÃ©, Rosemary Purcell (2009) Stalkers and their Victims. 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press. The best and most comprehensive book on stalking, for the general public and professionals.