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Am I being stalked?

How to recognise if you are the target for a stalker

It can be hard to spot the difference between harassment and something much more sinister.

It can be difficult to know if you’re a target for anti-social behaviour, harassment or are being stalked by someone. Behaviours can vary from what appears trivial to the obviously serious.

The first question is to ask yourself, is the person’s behaviour:

  • Fixated

  • Obsessive

  • Unwanted

  • Repeated?

Stalking is a way of expressing and demonstrating power and control over someone else. Stalkers use a variety of methods to intimidate their victims. These can include:

  • Sending unwanted letters or cards

  • Sending unwanted emails or text messages or posts on social media sites

  • Making unwanted phone calls

  • Delivering unwanted gifts to a workplace or home

  • Waiting outside someone’s home or workplace

  • Following someone or spying on them

  • Sharing intimate pictures of someone without their consent, for example by text, on a website, or on a social media site on more than one occasion

  • Posting information publicly about someone or making public accusations

  • Making threats.

Stalking is a serious criminal offence under the Criminal Justice and Licensing Act (Scotland) 2010. The legislation states that:

“An offence occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct on at least two separate occasions, which causes another person to feel fear or alarm, where the accused person intended, or knew or ought to have known, that their conduct would cause fear and alarm.”

So, if the behaviour of the other person appears fixated, obsessive, is unwanted and repeated, and is causing you fear and/or alarm then you may be the victim of stalking.

If you are a victim of stalking or know someone who is, Action Against Stalking can provide thoughcare support and also provide advice on reporting to the police. Go to the Help and Support page for more information. 

Advice for people being stalked

Practical safety advice for people being stalked includes:

  • Report to the police

  • Contact Action Against Stalking by phone (0800 820 2427), email or via our Contact Form

  • Do not interact with the person stalking you

  • Take a mobile telephone with you when you go out

  • Have your keys ready for when you reach your front door

  • Consider fitting a home alarm system or carrying a personal attack alarm

  • Make your online life more secure by changing your passwords regularly, heighten your privacy settings and do not share personal information with strangers 

  • Activate a pin or password on your mobile devices

  • Turn off GPS and locating tagging on your mobile devices

  • If you become aware that you are being followed, make your way to a public place, commercial premises (such as a shop) or your nearest police station.

Family and friends will try to offer support the best they can, but they may not understand what you are truly experiencing and, while meaning the best for you, may not know how best to support and offer advice. If someone has confided in you about their experience then we have some tips you can follow - tips to support those being stalked.

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