Stalking and harassment is when someone repeatedly behaves in a way that makes you feel scared, distressed or threatened.
There are different types of stalking and harassment and anyone can be a victim.
Stalking and harassment are offences under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
Someone you know could be harassing you, like a neighbour, or people from your local area or it could be a stranger.
Harassment may include:
bullying at school or in the workplace
cyber stalking (using the internet to harass someone)
sending abusive text messages
sending unwanted gifts
unwanted phone calls, letters, emails or visits
It's harassment if the unwanted behaviour has happened more than once.
Sexual harassment is unlawful, as a form of discrimination, under the Equality Act 2010.
The Act says it’s sexual harassment if the unwanted behaviour:
violates your dignity
creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment (this includes the digital environment, online)
Some examples of sexual harassment would include:
sexual comments, jokes or gestures
staring or leering at your body
using names like ’slut’ or ‘whore’
unwanted sexual communications, like emails, texts, DMs
sharing sexual photos or videos
groping and touching
someone exposing themselves
pressuring you to do sexual things or offering you something in exchange for sex
If you’ve experienced any of these it’s not your fault and you don’t have to put up with it.
If you don’t feel ready to contact us, you can report anonymously to Crimestoppers.
Stalking is like harassment, but it's more aggressive. The stalker will have an obsession with the person they're targeting.
Someone you know could be stalking you; an ex partner or a person you were friends with, or it might be a stranger. If it's someone you know, or knew, it doesn't mean that it's your fault; it's still stalking and it's an offence.
Stalking may include:
regularly following someone
repeatedly going uninvited to their home
checking someone’s internet use, email or other electronic communication
hanging around somewhere they know the person often visits
interfering with their property
watching or spying on someone
identity theft (signing-up to services, buying things in someone's name)
It's stalking if the unwanted behaviour has happened more than once.