National Stalking Week: Stalking is a serious crime that can have a devastating and long-lasting impact on its victims

This is National Stalking Week, April 25-29, which raises the issue of stalking and the devastating effect it can have on lives.

Monday, 25th April 2022, 11:36 am

Stalking is a pattern of fixated, obsessive, unwanted and repetitive behaviour.

It includes behaviour that happens two or more times, directed at or towards you by another person.

It takes many forms and can involve threats, criminal damage, following or spying on someone.

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Stalking takes many forms and can involve threats, criminal damage, following or spying on someone

It could happen in person, over the phone, online or on social media platforms.

Anyone can be a victim of stalking.

It is a serious crime that can have a serious and long-lasting impact on its victims.

What makes the problem particularly hard to cope with is that it can go on for a long period of time - sometimes the problem can build up slowly and it can take a while for you to realise you are caught up in an ongoing campaign of abuse.

Stalking isn’t always ‘physical’, stalking can affect you psychologically as well.

Social media and the Internet are often used for stalking and harassment, and ‘cyber-stalking’, online threats can be just as intimidating.

Cyberstalking refers to the use of the internet and other technologies to harass or stalk another person online.

This online harassment, can take the form of e-mails, text messages, social media posts, and more and is often methodical, deliberate, and persistent.

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Just like ‘in-person’ stalking, cyberstalking has the potential to cause a wide range of physical and emotional consequences for those who are targeted.

For instance, it's not uncommon for those who are being harassed online to experience anger, fear, and confusion.

Rachael Blake, Doncaster Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Social Care, Communities and Equalities said: “We know that the number of people who are victims of stalking is higher than the number of reported incidents and it is vital that we to continue to increase awareness of the signs of stalking.

"Stalking has wide ranging impacts on the physical and mental wellbeing of its victims and it is important to acknowledge that both women and men can be victims.

"I would encourage anyone who is in this situation to seek help, the council have a dedicated web page with more information on how you can protect yourself, you can find it at www.doncaster.gov.uk/stalking, and if you are in immediate danger please contact the police.”

They added that the police will listen and can help they will arrange a convenient time to meet you to take details in order to give more specific safety advice to you.

It is important that you tell the officer everything that has happened, even if you think it may sound trivial or alternatively you can contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.

Always call the emergency number 999 if you are in immediate danger.

If you are a victim of stalking, Victim Support are an independent charity offering free, confidential support to people affected by crime and traumatic incidents caused by stalking. Support line 08 08 16 89 111 www.victimsupport.org.uk/get-involve

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.