Online abuse

With the growth of the internet it is easier for someone to obtain details on your personal and financial affairs, relationships, social and work life and location.

Stalkers may use online platforms to ruin your reputation by hacking into your accounts, slandering or imitating you incessantly or threatening you via email or instant messaging.

Online abuse can include:

  • A false profile of you being created and used on social networking sites.
  • Malicious websites, blogs and social networking sites being created about you.
  • Receiving direct and indirect threats through email or instant messaging.
  • Having images of you altered and shared online (sometimes of a sexually explicit nature).

Criminal damage

Taken in isolation, damage to your home or your vehicle may seem unremarkable. But in particular circumstances and with repetition, it can become more sinister. Criminal damage is one of the most common signs of stalking.

Criminal damage can include:

  • Forced entry into your property
  • Damage to your property
  • Graffiti or paint on your property
  • Arson to your property

Leaving signs

Some of the most distressing occurrences experienced by stalking victims are the little signs that are left by their perpetrator. It may be a turned over bin, a lit cigarette on the door step or a disturbance in the house, a sign that is left to intimidate or cause alarm is one of the most common signs of stalking.

Victims will typically experience 100 incidents of stalking before reporting it to the police. Often victims feel their experiences are too insignificant to report or they fear they won’t be believed.

If you are experiencing signs of stalking, please get the help and support available.

Following, tracking and finding you

Stalkers often use multiple methods to stalk their victims including following, tracking and spying on their every move. With advancing technology, stalkers are finding it easier to monitor their victims’ movements and conversations using bugging and tracking devices. The intrusiveness of this behaviour will often leave their victim feeling vulnerable and scared.

Stalkers may:

  • Fit a tracking device to your car
  • Use mobile devices and GPS to track your movements
  • Use spyware on your computer
  • Bug your home
  • Loiter and turn up at known locations

Using your kids to get to you

If the victim has children with their perpetrator, other tactics may be used to stalk and gain control. With the increase of children owning their own iPad, mobile phone and games console it can be easy for the perpetrator to initiate a private conversation via FaceTime, Skype, social media or online gaming to obtain information.

Children who witness or are victims of emotional or psychological abuse are at higher risk of long-term mental health problems so if you think you are being stalked through your child please get the help and support available.

Bombarding texts

Stalking via text message is another form of stalking that can be brutal, emotional and scary for the victim. Just because the abuse isn’t physical, doesn’t make it any less serious. Many victims of stalking report being bombarded with texts that fluctuate between being abusive and threatening to those of a reconciling nature.

Stalking via texting encompasses anything that’s unwanted such as:

  • Obsessive texting
  • Inappropriate texting
  • Inappropriate picture messages
  • Intimidating texting
  • Texting to gain information about your activities or your whereabouts
  • Continuing to text you after you’ve made it clear you don’t want to be contacted.

Obsessive calls

Obsessive calls may be confused with clinginess or interest but constant unwanted calls are a sing of stalking. Many stalkers have obsessive personality traits and fixate on their victim. They may not take no for an answer and they may even think their constant contact is a sign of love and commitment. However, this unwanted behaviour is obsessive, controlling and abusive. Phone calls from withheld numbers, voicemails and constant calls is unacceptable. If you spot the signs, get the help and support available.

Unwanted gifts

Stalker are unable to recognise or respect the feelings or boundaries of others. Manipulation is one of their greatest tools, particularly with an ex. The sending of gifts from the seemingly ‘romantic’ such as flowers, chocolates or cuddly toys, to the ordering of unwanted goods and services, are both signs of stalking behaviour.

Victims are often reluctant to report stalking behaviour despite being frightened for fear they won’t be taken seriously. If you spot the signs, trained professionals are available to offer you the help and support you need.