Education for professionals
What is stalking?
Stalking is a serious criminal offence under Section 39 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing Act (Scotland) 2010. There is a wide range of behaviours that can be classed as stalking under the Act.
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.”
In other words, if someone targets another person in a way that is repeated and unwanted – regardless of whether their actions are threatening or not – but where the intention or outcome is to cause distress then they could be guilty of stalking.
In the absence of explicit threats, individual incidents on their own, may appear harmless.
But police and courts will assess them together and may conclude they form a ‘course of conduct’ that intended to cause, or resulted in, fear and alarm.
*This is why it’s vitally important to keep a log of incidents with dates etc.