If you think you are being stalked or are suffering harassment, report your concerns to the police.
How you can help yourself
- Take a mobile telephone with you when you go out.
- Carry a personal attack alarm and learn how to use it - do not carry anything that is meant for use as a weapon.
- Try to alter your daily routines, ask friends to go with you whenever possible, and always try to let someone know what your plans are.
Help the police to help you
- Keep a record of what happened, where, when every time you were followed, phoned, received post or e-mail.
- The more details you have the better, how the offender looked or sounded, what they were wearing, the make, and number plate or colour of their car.
- Keep letters, and parcels as evidence: even if they contain frightening or upsetting messages, do not throw them away and handle them as little as possible.
- Keep copies of e-mails on disk and print out hard copies, do not delete the original.
- Making notes in a diary is a good idea. Write the information down as soon as possible, when events are still fresh in your mind.
- Tape record telephone conversations if you can and keep the tape.
- If you recognise the handwriting, you can keep letters or parcels as evidence without having to open them.
- Make sure you keep any stored messages (including text messages) or telephone numbers that you have received on your mobile phone and caller ID units.
- Tell your friends, neighbours and work colleagues about what is happening.
- Try to get photographic or video evidence of your stalker (especially if they are someone already warned by the police not to come near you).
Avoiding unwanted calls
- Answer the phone by saying 'hello', not your name or number.
- Try to keep calm and not show emotion, many callers will give up if they don't think they're making an impression on you or your feelings.
- Use an answer machine to screen out calls and only talk to people you want to.
- If the caller rings again, put the handset down on a table for a few minutes - the caller will think you're listening. After a few minutes replace the handset, you do not have to listen to what the caller has to say.
If you know or find out who is stalking you
- Do not confront your stalker or even engage them in conversation.
- Do not, under any circumstances, agree to a meeting to talk about how you feel about them constantly bothering you.
- Do not respond in any way to calls, letters, or conversations. If you ignore the phone nine times and pick it up on the tenth, you will send the message that persistence pays. Once they have your attention, they will be encouraged to carry on.
- Ask friends or solicitors to contact them if you want to get a message to them.
Help and advice