Support for you
If you are being stalked by an ex-partner you can call your local Women’s Aid group for support. They may also be able to give you information about a lawyer you can visit for legal advice.
If you have experienced sexual violence, or threats of sexual violence from the stalker, you can also contact Rape Crisis for support on our telephone helpline, by post or by email, or you can drop into the Centre in Glasgow any Wednesday between 10.30 am and 3.00 pm.
You can also contact your local police office to report any incidents or to discuss the stalking with your Community Safety police officer. She or he will also be able to advise you on additional safety measures inside your home to help you feel more secure.
If you are being harassed by telephone there are a number of ways you can get help, including those above in the section on ‘The Law’. The advice most often given by experts in this field is that you should do your best not to engage with the stalker.
This can be very difficult as you may want to answer his calls to tell him to leave you alone or to try to reason with him and let him know the impact his behaviour is having on you and your family. However, the message he will take from any communication you have with him is that he can get a response from you; if he calls, you will answer. Some other ways to deal with this are:
- You can use an answering machine to filter all your calls and let any friends or family members you can trust know what you are doing. This way you can respond to messages you choose. You should try to keep a record of any abusive messages to pass on to the police if you have chosen to involve them.
- BT has a policy on nuisance calls and you can access information on this by calling them or logging on to their website. If you have a different telephone service provider, contact them for information on how they can help you.
- You can ask your telephone line provider to change your telephone number and ensure that your new number is ex-directory.
- If you are receiving calls from the stalker on your mobile phone, or you are constantly being sent texts, you should not answer but keep these messages and if you can, download them onto your computer. You may wish to change your phone number and give your new number to those friends and family members you can trust.
You may be receiving letters or gifts through the post in addition to telephone calls. There are a number of ways you can deal with this.
- Make sure you keep all correspondence you receive from the stalker as you may need it if you are taking legal action.
- Any gifts or packages you receive should be kept complete with contents if possible.
If you receive any obscene materials in the post these must be kept as the stalker may be committing an offence under Section 85 of the Postal Services Act 2000. If you receive a letter, package or parcel which you know is from the stalker, you should place it, unopened, in a plastic bag and show it to the police if you have involved them. This is the best way to preserve any fingerprints, skin cells etc. that will be on the contents.
If you are receiving abusive or threatening emails the advice is similar to that given for telephone calls. You should not respond but keep all of his emails in a separate file – if you know they are from the person who is stalking you, you don’t have to open them or read them if you feel that this will upset you. Just file them as they may be useful if you are taking legal action or if there is a police investigation.
If you are being followed, for your own safety do not approach your stalker or challenge him. If you have a non-harassment order or an interdict, you should contact the police immediately.
If the stalker is turning up at your place of work, again you should contact the police and let them know that you have a non-harassment order/interdict.
If the stalker is coming to your house and you would like extra security, you can contact your local Community Police officer or the Community Safety section of your local council to discuss extra measures you can take.
If you do not have a non harassment order or an interdict you can contact Rape Crisis who will be able to give you contact details for a solicitor who has experience in these issues. When contacting any solicitor, it may be useful to check if she/he has had previous experience dealing with protection orders.
If any of your property is being damaged or vandalised, you can report this directly to the police and if you haven’t reported previous behaviour by the stalker, let them know that this is part of a pattern of behaviour. You may wish to show them any letters, gifts or record of phone calls you may have kept.
As shown above, there are several ways you can get legal protection and a solicitor will be able to ensure that you have all the information you need about this. Make sure that you find a solicitor that has experience of dealing with this kind of case. Your local Women’s Aid group may be able to give you advice on finding the right solicitor. The Rape Crisis Centre can also put you in touch with a solicitor.