General practical advice

General practical advice if you think you may have a Stalker:

  • Listen to your instinct – if you are frightened tell someone
  • If you are being followed on foot, make for a shop or house with lights on
  • If you are being followed when you are driving make for somewhere with CCTV coverage – e.g. most petrol stations or drive to a police station
  • Keep evidence. Even if you are disgusted by the gifts/ messages DO NOT give in to the temptation to burn/ destroy the evidence. Find a box, put the evidence in there and keep it safe until you choose to use it.
  • Keep a diary of evidence, one page for each event
    • Date and time
    • What happened
    • How it happened, was it planned, by whom
    • Who was there, how do you know them
    • What did you see, did anyone else see this
    • What did you hear, did anyone else hear this
    • What was said and to whom
    • What was said as a reply and by whom
    • Was any damage caused, what and by whom
    • Was anything left behind – if so keep it
    • Was anything stolen, what and by whom
    • If there was anyone else there then write down their names and contact details, plus anything else you know about how they might be contacted
    • Write down how you felt after the incident – this can help you if you need to write a Victim Impact Statement later.
  • NEVER make contact with the stalker. Not just for your own safety but for credibility too. Stalking is about the victim’s perception – if you go looking for the stalker/ agree to meet, send letters, make phone calls, send text messages it make the whole thing less clear to people whose help you may need – e.g. Police.
  • Every Police service in England and Wales now has a Single Point of Contact (they call it SPOC) for stalking victims. You can ask for them if you call the police and it is a non-emergency

Phones

Phones need careful consideration because they are widely used by stalkers. There is a lot of advice around but it is difficult to stop a stalker phoning you.

  • You may be advised to change your phone number – but stalkers boast about how quickly they can find new numbers – and you will be upset if you have changed the number and within days or hours, begin to receive those calls again.
  • Keep a diary of all unwanted calls. Record the date, time and anything that is said, if it is a silent call record this fact too.
  • Contact your phone provider for advice if you are receiving calls you do not want.
    • They may be able to block calls from certain numbers – but the stalker will just call from another number
    • They may be willing to intercept calls and intervene.
    • Ask them what they can do
  • You may
    • Ask a friend who is the same gender as you, to record your message.
    • The message could say that all callers have to leave a message, saying what they want and leaving a number for a call back
    • People have left messages saying that the line is under surveillance and all calls are monitored
    • Remember that if someone calls you on a landline and you pick up the landline phone you cannot disconnect the call, the caller has to do this
    • If you feel that you must answer all calls then answer but say nothing until the other person speaks.
    • Say nothing, if it is the stalker calling. Quietly put down the phone. Make a diary note of the call.
    • Keep one phone with the number known to the stalker just for those calls and use another phone for everything else- this makes a lot of sense: you have to avoid only the one phone, your anxiety around phones will be contained and not haunt you for years, you stay in control, you are still in contact with other people AND you are gathering useful evidence about the calls and caller.
    • You could give the stalker phone to a friend for them to monitor (silently)
    • Keep the SIM with the number that is known to the stalker in a drawer and use another SIM card in your phone. Listen to messages on the old one when you have time to take notes and so on.
    • If the calls come when you are at work, you may be able divert all calls from one phone to a friend’s or colleague’s phone for a while
    • If you want to use the same phone you could assign different ringtones to people you want to accept calls from and answer only these ringtones – again it reduces the tension that would come every single time the phone rings.
    • If you are able to store information from your phone somewhere else – e.g. on your computer, then it is sensible to do this as a backup.

Internet stalking

This is a huge area. We cannot hope to cover this comprehensively here. But there are many excellent sources of information on specialist support sites. We have a list of them in our Contacts.

This area is becoming more complex all the time.

If your stalker appears to know too much about you, what you are doing now, wearing now, have bought online last week etc. do not despair – work out what they seem to know and how they might have got this information.

From other people? By watching you? By using tracking devices? By having put a webcam on your front door or Spyware on your computer – this can relay every single key stroke you make to a savvy stalker.

  • Change all your passwords; make them very different from any you have used before. Don’t use the same password for everything.
  • Change your email address to something that does not have your name in it.
  • Facebook or social network sites – be careful what you share online
  • Check out the Helplines of all the social networking sites that you use for useful advice on staying safe
  • Take care what you download onto the internet – photos can carry the date, time and location of the shot
  • Do not respond to emails from people you do not know – not even to unsubscribe from something.
  • Get into the habit of typing in the real name of the site you want to visit into your browser so that you are not diverted to a fake site
  • Watch out for fake pages and apps
  • Run anti virus and anti spyware software regularly
  • If the stalker has had access to your computer take it to a shop and have it checked for malware, spyware and viruses.