What is stalking?

Stalking can consist of any type of behaviour, including online, that is fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated and causes fear, distress or anxiety. Anyone can become a victim of stalking and the stalker can be someone you know or a stranger. Even if you know/knew the stalker, it is not your fault. Stalking and harassment is something that no one should have to experience.

What is the difference between stalking and harassment?


Legally, the term harassment is used to cover the 'causing alarm or distress' and 'putting people in fear of violence' offences under a certain law (Protection from Harassment Act 1997).

Harassment can include repeated attempts to carry out unwanted communications and contact on someone in a manner that could be expected to cause distress or fear.



Stalking has no strict legal definition. However, changes to law in 2012 set out a number of behaviours associated with stalking which gives an indication of the types of behaviour that may be displayed in a stalking offence. For something to be considered stalking it must include the act of harassment.

The behaviour carried out is to limit a persons feeling of freedom and safety. In many cases, the acts on their own may appear innocent, but when carried out repeatedly it causes significant alarm or distress.

In other terms, stalking is behaviour that is fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repeated and causes you fear.

Is it only stalking if it is done by a stranger?

No. Stalking can be done by both strangers and someone you know/knew.

Just because you may know the stalker does not mean that the situation is your fault - it is still stalking and it is wrong.

You can find out more information on our Stalking page.

What can I do if I believe someone is stalking me?

There are several things you can do. You can take civil action as well as reporting to the Police to take criminal action.

You can also get support and advice from specialist support services, regardless of whether you have reported to the Police.

If you think you are experiencing stalking or harassment, you can also keep a diary of events. Write down the date, time, location and details of things that happen. This can then be used if you do decide to report to the Police.

You can find out more information on our Stalking page.

What is a protection order?

A protection order is an order from court that a person stops doing certain acts, such as the behaviours that amount to stalking. 

Civil proceedings for an order can be taken forward yourself by an application to your local court.

The Police also now have the power to apply for Stalking Protection Orders. These are civil orders but when broken are criminal offences. They also allow for additional terms to be attached to the order, such as things that must be done alongside activities and behaviours that are 'banned'.


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