Understanding stalking and harassment

If someone repeatedly behaves in a way that alarms or distresses you, that's harassment. It could be:

  • sending you texts, letters or gifts you don't want
  • making threats online or in person
  • being bullied at work or at school

Stalking is a form of harassment. It could be when someone keeps following you, spying on you or turning up at your home unannounced.

It can be hard to recover from the fear and distress caused by this kind of behaviour. There are a lot of organisations that can help. Find support where you live

Is it a crime?

Harassment and stalking are both criminal offences. But it can be very hard to know if and when to go to the police. A single incident might not seem very significant until you realise it's part of a pattern.

If you call your local support team, they can assess the situation and see what help you need, even if you aren't ready to report the crime yet.

You can also help yourself by keeping a record of what's happened, and anything you've been sent.

After reporting harassment

Because you've been persistently targeted, you'll be entitled to extra help from the police, courts and victim services. That could include:

  • arranging for a specialist support service to contact you
  • letting you know within 1 working day what's happening with the suspect - if they're being released on bail for example
  • being given information about special measures that could help you give evidence in court

You can see everything you’re entitled to in the Victims’ Code. This is a government document which sets out the information and support you should get from public services.