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Stalking

By Dave Webb | 12 Nov 2021

How to deal with stalkers

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Stalking/Harassment

 

Harassment is extremely unpleasant and malicious behaviour that causes upset and distress – and it’s something no one should put up with. 80% of victims of stalking are female and the majority of their stalkers are male. Stalkers can be any age. Victims can be stalked for years with the average case lasting 15 months. But many incidents last longer – 30% per cent of people who have been stalked experience stalking for over 2 years. In the majority of cases the victims of stalking know their stalker, in 45% of all cases an ex-partner is involved. However, whether victims know the person or not, there are a number of measures that assist in disempowering stalkers and help protect from being targeted and tracked.

 

Stalking became a criminal offence on November 25th, 2012. It includes repeated attempts to impose unwanted communications and/or contacts on another in a manner that could be expected to cause distress and/or fear in any reasonable person.

 

Clearly there is no simple solution to all incidents of stalking. However, experts advise the following ‘golden rules’ that should be followed if you find yourself the victim of stalking or harassment:

 

Have NO contact with the stalker:

 

After the stalker has been told by the victim in a calm, clear and firm manner that their attention is unwanted and that they are to stop all contact, the victim, their family and friends should have no further contact with the stalker. Stalkers want a reaction whether it’s positive or negative. It is crucial to ensure:

 

Everyone involved understands the importance of not appealing to the stalker to stop, threatening them or retaliating to provocation

Ideally the police should be the only ones to confront the stalker

If there is accidental contact with the stalker, the victim should try not to show any emotion and leave the situation as soon as possible i. Seek refuge in a safe location (shop or business)

Call the police if the stalker continues to try to interact

 

 

Inform trusted people:

 

Although many stalking victims are reluctant to inform others of what they are going through, it is important that those around the victim know what’s going on. This includes family, friends, co-habitants, work colleagues and even neighbours. By explaining the situation the victim can:

 

Reduce the possibility of others inadvertently providing information to the stalker or access to the victim

Alert them to the significance of any events they may witness

Helps to provide stronger evidence should the case go to court

Obtain the necessary support to get through the situation

 

Increase personal protection:

 

Vary daily routines e.g. the route/times going work, gym or other frequently attended locations

 

Alter your appearance with the use of hats, different styles of clothes etc.

Know the location of the closest police station and those along the routes frequently travelled

Keep a list of critical telephone numbers including emergency services and other supports next to your home telephone and have them on your mobile

Where possible avoid walking alone at night or in quiet remote areas

Consider a personal duress alarm

Let people know where you are going and for how long

Check your car before getting in – e.g. tracking devices

Always keep your mobile telephone on you at all times so you can call for assistance

Develop a basic safety plan that includes how to exit your home quickly and move to a safe place

 

Collect evidence:

 

This is crucial in preparing a case against the stalker and it cannot be overestimated how important it is to keep all evidence and document your encounters and experience: a. Compile a journal that is a chronological summary of events from that first day through to the present. Keep it brief and include everything you can remember, even if it seems trivial, and record dates, times, and witnesses to the encounters. Include telephone calls, items left or sent and any encounters with the stalker. You may start to see a set pattern develop - Save everything

 

Online:

 

Restrict your social media posts to your friends and not public

Check privacy settings on social networking sites and limit the amount of information you supply

Google yourself frequently to check your digital footprint

Don’t use the same password for every account and change them regularly

Be aware of geolocation and tagging on social networking sites and ensure that it’s disabled on your phone

Keep your antivirus software up to date

Report stalking to website administrators

If you believe that your phone or computer has been hacked or compromised, stop using it immediately and take it to your mobile phone provider or computer repair experts for advice

 

Answering the phone:

 

Don’t answer the phone with your address or phone number

If the caller is not known to you, avoid answering questions about yourself, no matter how genuine they sound

As a general rule, don’t answer calls to unknown numbers or ID withheld numbers

If you have an answering machine, it’s advisable not to include your name or number in the outgoing message

The message should never tell people that you are out or away; try to give the impression that you are only temporarily unable to answer: e.g. 'Sorry, I can’t get to the phone right now, so please leave your name and number and I’ll get right back to you'

If you’re listed in any directories, you might want to give your initials and surname rather than your full name

Never show anger or fear over the phone - remain calm, confident and if necessary, assertive

 

General mistakes made by victims of stalking:

 

Provide too much information about themselves to people they don’t know

Provide too much information online/on social-media

Not giving a clear calm message that they are not interested in a relationship

Not listening to their intuition/gut feeling

Ignoring early warning signs

Not taking the situation seriously

Interacting with a stalker

Trying to reason with a stalker

Blaming themselves

Not taking adequate privacy and safety precautions

Failing to obtain support from others either personally or professionally

Expecting police to solve quickly

Ignoring emotional needs during/after stalking events

 

At Valkyrie, we are, and have been, dealing with a number of victims of stalking.  If you feel you are being stalked, DO NOT ignore it!  Call the police and contact us at E: security@valkyrie.co.uk | T: +44 (0) 20 7499 9323

 

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