If you think you are being stalked or are suffering harassment, please report your concerns to Police Scotland at your local police station, via 101, online or via 999 if it is an emergency.
You can access the online Stalking Form to report an incident of stalking that has occurred within Scotland.
Definition of what stalking is:
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’ covers physical or psychological harm, or apprehension or fear for the safety of the perceived victim or any other person.
Although each Stalking situation is unique and Stalkers may have different motivations, the tactics and techniques employed by each are often very similar.
- Following someone or someone else who is associated with that person.
- 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.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and each instance of stalking may present unique circumstances that are not listed above.
Watch the below video by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust for more information on what stalking is.
Practical Safety Advice
- 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
- Consider fitting a home alarm system or carrying a personal attack alarm.
- Make your online life more secure by changing your passwords regularly, heighten your privacy settings and do not share personal information with a stranger.
- Activate a pin or password on your mobile devices.
- Turn off GPS and locating tagging on your mobile devices.
- If you become aware that you are being followed, make your way to a public place, commercial premises (such as a retail shop) or your nearest police station.
Please help Police Scotland to help you
- Keep a diary of incidents and save evidence like text messages, emails and screenshots of any online activity.
- If you are receiving non-threatening letters or gifts, keep them as evidence of unwanted contact. If any of these items contain frightening or upsetting messages, again do not throw them away and handle them as little as possible. It is important that you pass these items to the police.
- 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.
Dealing with unwanted calls
- Contact your service provider who can put in place additional measures to prevent calls from withheld or unknown numbers.
- If you choose to 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 categories of anonymous caller 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 the circumstances.
- Do not confront your stalker or engage them in conversation.
- Do not, under any circumstances, agree to a meeting.
How to contact Police Scotland
- Phone 101;
- Phone 999 (in an emergency);
- Attend in person at any police office;
- Submit an online form via the Police Scotland website.
Further support and information
Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (free legal advice)
08088 010 789 (Open every Wednesday 1330 – 1630)
Network for Surviving Stalking (NSS)
Suzy Lamplugh Trust
020 7091 0014
National Stalking Advocacy Service
Digital Stalking advice
Action Against Stalking (AAS)
Restoring the Balance campaign
The ‘Restoring the Balance’ campaign aims to stop stalkers being able to use the civil courts system to abuse their victims.
As part of this, the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, who run the National Stalking Helpline, are currently carrying out research on the experience of stalking victims who have been subjected to vexatious complaints (false accusations) by their stalker. Is this something that you think you could help with? If so, we would appreciate if you could spend 3 minutes completing this short survey.
Your responses will remain anonymous and will assist us in bringing about a change to help victims of stalking in the UK.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust will also be holding focus groups as part of this research, to find out more about the experiences faced by stalking victims who are subjected to vexatious complaints.
If you would be willing to attend a focus group, please complete the contact details at the end of the survey. Expenses will be covered and participants will be offered a £20 gift voucher as a gesture of appreciation.