Information about stalking, advice for victims and how to can report unwanted behaviour.
On this page:
There is no legal definition of Stalking, however it can be described as:
“Two or more behaviours directed towards a victim which cause, are intended to cause, or where the perpetrator’s behaviour is reckless as to whether it causes, the victim to suffer fear and alarm.”
‘Fear and alarm’ is physical or psychological harm. It is also fear for your safety.
If you think you are being stalked or are suffering harassment, please report it to Police Scotland. You can do this at your local police station, by phoning 101, reporting online or calling 999 if it is an emergency.
You can access the online Stalking Form to report an incident of stalking that has occurred within Scotland.
Each stalking situation is unique and stalkers may have different motivations. The tactics they use are often very similar.
- Following someone
- Contacting or attempting to contact a person by any means
- Publishing material about someone without their consent
- Monitoring someone’s phone, internet, email or other form of communication
- Loitering in a public or private place
- Interfering with someone’s property
- Leaving unwanted gifts or notes for someone
- Watching or spying on someone.
Watch this video by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for more information on what stalking is.
There is some advice you can follow if you think you might be a victim.
- Report it to the police
- Do not interact with the person stalking you
- Take a mobile telephone with you when you go out
- Have your keys ready for when you reach your front door
- Fit a home alarm system or carry a personal attack alarm
- Change your online passwords regularly, and look after your privacy settings. Do not share personal information with a stranger
- Set a pin or password on your mobile devices
- Turn off GPS and locating tagging on your mobile devices
- If you think you are being followed, head to a public place, a shop or your nearest police station.
Here's some things you can do so that we can help you:
- Keep a diary - save evidence like text messages, emails and also take screenshots
- Keep any letters or gifts as evidence of unwanted contact and pass them to the police
- If these frighten or upset you, do not throw them away and handle them as little as possible
- If you have a smart phone or other suitable device, record unwanted telephone conversations
- Do not allow the person to emotionally isolate you
- Tell your trusted family and friends about what you are experiencing.
- Contact your service provider who can put in place additional measures to stop calls from withheld or unknown numbers
- When you answer the phone, answer by saying 'hello', not your name or number
- Make use of answer machines and caller identifications to screen calls - only talk to people you want to
- Try to keep calm and don’t show emotion, certain callers will give up if they don't get a reaction from you
- Do not respond in any way to unwanted calls, letters, or conversations.
If you know or find out who is stalking you
- Contact Police Scotland and report what has happened
- Do not confront your stalker or try and talk to them
- Do not agree to meet them.
How to contact Police Scotland
- Phone 101
- Phone 999 (in an emergency)
- Attend any police office
- Submit an online form via the Police Scotland website.
Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (free legal advice)
08088 010 789 (Open every Wednesday 1330 – 1630)
Available 24/7 on 0800 027 1234 or via email and web chat through the website.