Stalking FAQ'sInformation and advice for victims of stalking
Can stalking only be done by a stranger?
When many people hear the word stalking they still think of a stranger lurking in the shadows or a delusional fan following a celebrity. Whilst these cover some stalking scenarios they are by no means the majority.
About 40% of people who contact the Helpline are being stalked by ex-intimates (i.e. ex partners) and a further third have had some sort of prior acquaintance with their victim; you may have dated, married or been a friend with your stalker.
Just because you know/knew the stalker does not mean that the situation is your fault – it is still stalking and it is wrong.
Am I at risk?
If you are being stalked by an ex partner and report the matter to the police they may carry out a risk assessment called a DASH. DASH stands for Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Honour Based Violence.
There are a number of different DASH risk identification processes which have been developed by psychologists, the police and CAADA. To find out more information about all of them visit the DASH website.
Am I overreacting?
No. If you feel scared, worried or angered by the behaviour then you should not have to put up with it.
Some people may lack the knowledge or understanding of how stalking can negatively impact on every aspect of your life, however that does not mean that you are overreacting – only that we have a long way to go in raising awareness about the seriousness of stalking.
Who can be a victim of stalking?
Anyone can become a victim of stalking. A report produced by Dr. Lorraine Sheridan and Network for Surviving Stalking, in which 2,292 victims of stalking were surveyed, found that victims’ ages ranged from 10 to 73, they were male and female, were spread across the entire socio-economic spectrum and a large proportion (38%) were professionals.
Dr. Sheridan concludes that virtually anyone can become a victim of stalking and the only way to avoid doing so would be to avoid the social world.
How long does stalking last?
There is no definite answer to this question. Dr. Lorraine Sheridan’s report (see above) found that stalking could last anywhere from 1 month to 43 years.
The average length of time was found to be between 6 months and 2 years. Dr. Sheridan also found that the duration of stalking tends to increase as the stalker’s emotional investment in the relationship increases.
This is one of the reasons ex-intimate stalking is often considered to be the most dangerous
What information can you give to stalking victims?
Trust your instincts, if someone is making you feel scared or intimidated do not ignore these feelings, research indicates early intervention in a stalking case can stop it.
After you have told your stalker once clearly and firmly that you no longer wish to have any contact with them try not to engage with or meet them again, even if it is to tell them to leave you alone.
Can stalking without violence still be damaging?
Yes. The absence of violence in a stalking case doesn’t mean the victim is unaffected. Stalking can cause severe psychological distress to a victim.
Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, paranoia, agoraphobia and post-traumatic stress disorder are all common side effects of stalking.