Stalking

Stalking is the intentional and repeated following, communication or contact with another person, which can result in distress or fear. 

Cyber stalking is stalking that occurs online, through email, phones and other devices. Cyber stalking includes identity theft, tracking someone's location and hacking or using online accounts.

What to do

Download the Stalking fact sheet

Take action early

  • As early as possible give a single clear message to the person that you don’t want any attention or contact from them, and ask them to stop the behaviour immediately
  • Cease all contact with the person
  • Do not respond to contact of any form from the person (it only serves to prolong the stalking, and even if the interaction is negative it encourages them to continue the behaviour)
  • Block the person’s email, phone number and social media accounts
  • Screen phone calls, especially from unknown numbers
  • Increase privacy settings on social media, ensure they are private

Increase your personal safety

  • Keep your phone with you and program emergency numbers.
  • Make a safety plan, including family and friends phone numbers, and safe locations you can go that the person doesn’t know.
  • Keep your location private; do not post on social media, turn off location settings on your phone, and remove any phone finder apps.
  • Vary your travel routine or route, including using different shops.
  • Try to stay in public areas and have someone travel with you.
  • If being digitally stalked, change your passwords, create a new email account, and get a new phone number (SIM card).
  • Download personal safety apps on your phone, such as bSafe and VUSafe.

Seek advice and support

  • Tell people you trust about the behaviour, including family, friends, your workplace and the University.
  • Ask trusted people to avoid contact with the person, and not to convey contact from the person to you or your location to the person.
  • Ask for their advice and support about how to deal with the behaviour.
  • Seek advice and information from a professional service, such as Women's Information and Referral Exchange (WIRE) on 1300 134 130.
  • Seek support from a professional support service, such as Counselling on 9919 5400.

Record and report the behaviour

  • Keep and date a record of all contact from the person, what happened and when, as well what you did to try and stop the behaviour .
  • Keep and date any evidence of the behaviour, including emails and messages, screenshots of posts or comments, letters, cards, and gifts.
  • Report the behaviour to the social media site, e.g. Facebook or Twitter.
  • Report the behaviour to the University, to seek advice, information and assistance:
    • Discuss you concerns with teaching staff for support and referrals.
    • Report an incident to campus Security.
    • Safer Community provide advice, assistance and referrals, including appropriate safety arrangements.
    • Student Matters provide advice, information and complaint resolution.
    • Advocacy provide independent representation and assistance with University processes, including special consideration.
  • If you feel unsafe or the stalking has occurred for more than 2 weeks, report to the Police.
  • If you receive a threat, report to the Police immediately.
  • Consider applying for an intervention order, which prevents forbids the person contacting or approaching you, but it does not deter all stalkers.

Supporting someone experiencing stalking

If someone you know experiences stalking you should seek professional advice.

There are several things you can do to support someone who discloses stalking:

  • remain calm.
  • listen and given them your full attention.
  • validate their feelings, for example "It's ok to feel scared".
  • reassure them it was right for them to tell someone.
  • ask what you can do to support them.
  • empower them to seek help.

Further information about supporting someone who is being stalked:

Statistics about stalking

 

 Infographic text on page
  • 10% of Australian adults experience stalking in their lifetime
  • 1 in 13 men experience stalking
  • 1 in 5 women experience stalking
  • 85% of stalkers are male and known to the victim , usually an ex-partner
  • Most common types of stalking are digital, such as unwanted calls and texts
  • 30% of stalking lasts 6 months - 2 years
  • Less than half of people who experienced stalking reported to police
  • Targets experience stress, anxiety, depression, sleep loss, missed work, and reduced social arrangements

Large infographic: stalking

Developed by Safer Community, Victoria University.

Sources: ABS, 2017; WIRE, 2013