Stalking can be very frightening for the person experiencing it and makes the victim/survivor feel that they are constantly watched and monitored. It is often not very well understood by friends and family of the person being stalked as it often does not come across as sinister and aggressive.

Stalking is a serious criminal offence under Section 39 of 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.”

It is important to understand that Stalking is repeated contact that is unwanted and that this contact does not have to be containing explicit threats. As a result it might look harmless to outsiders whilst the victim of stalking will have felt frightened and uncomfortable.

Examples of Stalking
• Following and repeatedly appearing in places where the victim is 
• Watching the victims home or places the victim frequent 
• Repeated and unwanted calls and texts 
• Repeated contact over social media
 • Sending unwanted letters and emails 
• Sending/leaving unwanted gifts and messages 
• Befriending the victims friends and family in person or over social media 
• Asking a “friend” to contact the victim on their behalf to find out information about the victim 
• Tracking the victim via mobile phone or tracker technology 
• Applying for to work in the same place or take the same course only to be able to be close to the victim

When victims of stalking talk about their experiences it sometimes does not sound as serious as it is because the person stalking them is not overtly aggressive or threatening. As a result it is common for those experiencing stalking to feel embarrassed for reporting it and for feeling threatened by it.

It is not unusual for victims of stalking to play down the importance, the impact and the experience and it is not unusual for those close to the person being stalked to not take it seriously. When supporting a victim of stalking it is important to be clear that the behaviours of stalkers does not need to be threatening. If the behaviour is repetitive and unwanted it is stalking. 

There are two ways you can tell us what happened