Stalking and harassment
What stalking and harassment looks like, and how you can get support.
Our Sexual Violence Prevention and Support team are here to help all students who experience any aspect of relationship violence, not just physical. If you would like any support in relation to stalking, please contact our support team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is stalking?
Stalking is not currently legally defined in the UK, however offences are taken very seriously and can occur in a number of ways. There are many types of activity that are considered to be stalking offences such as:
- Following a person.
- Contacting/attempting to contact by any means.
- Monitoring a person’s use of the internet, mail or any form of electronic communication.
- Loitering in any place (whether public or private).
- Interfering with someone’s property. Watching or spying on a person.
What is harrassment?
This is conduct which alarms or causes another person distress. Examples might include:
- Frequent, unwanted contact e.g. visits, phone calls, texts, letters, emails, via social media, gifts.
- Driving past the victim’s home/work.
- Following or watching the victim
- Burglary/robbery of the victim’s home, workplace or vehicle.
- Threats to harm the victim and/or others associated with them (including sexual violence and threats to kill).
- Damaging the victim’s property.
- Harassment of people associated with the victim (e.g. family members, partner or work colleagues).
It's important to be able to recognise the signs that you may be being stalked or harassed. In cases of stalking, there is a pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive. Patterns might include:
- Somebody not taking no for an answer
- Trouble with an ex boyfriend/girlfriend
- Someone who just won't leave you alone, or you think might want to harm you
- Someone making threats
- Getting constant unwanted calls and texts
- Being constantly contacted online, maybe by fake profiles
- Being followed, or noticing someone loitering about at places you visit
- Being sent unwanted ‘gifts’
Victims can be impacted in a number of ways, such as:
- Feelings of denial, confusion, or self-doubt
- Feeling isolated and helpless to stop it
- Depression/Anxiety/Panic attacks
- Feel afraid to go to work or College/University
- Deteriorating College/University work performance due to stress and worry
- Impacting on relationships or social life or health and wellbeing
- Irritability, anger, homicidal thoughts Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
it's important to note that if you ever experience stalking and harassment, it is not your fault. The police recommend taking certain steps if you are experiencing this type of behaviour:
- Report it to the Police.
- Alert friends, family, or tutors.
- Carry a personal attack alarm or download the Hollie Guard App. Please remember that SafeZone is also available for free to all Keele students.
- Changing times/routes to university or work.
- Adjust privacy settings on electronic devices, change passwords regularly.
- Remove geotagging facilities, and ask friends not to tag you in photographs on social media, etc.
- Keep shared information safe and ask friends to do the same.
- Remove personal artefacts when on a video call, and be aware of what others can see in the background e.g. photos, posters etc.
- Cease contact with abuser and associates.
The Police also advise victims to keep a record of what is happening:
- Record the date and time of each incident in a diary and describe in detail exactly what happened and how it happened
- Who did it and how do you know who they are?
- What exactly did you see and hear?
- What was said to you and by whom?
- Was damage caused? If so what and how?
- How did it make you feel? (emotional, angry, upset, frightened etc.)
- Did anyone else witness the incident/behaviour? If they did, note their name, address and telephone number. Keep phone texts, relevant letters, video/photographs, objects used in incidents.
As well as support within the University, which you can access by emailing email@example.com or calling +44(0)1782 733335, there are also a number of external support agencies where you can get help.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, there are more opportunities for cyberstalking. Take a look at these useful sites: