Find out what to do if you are a victim of stalking

08/03/12

Leave me alone text

The Prime Minister David Cameron says stalking is going to be made a specific criminal offence for England and Wales.

At the moment, stalkers are dealt with under harassment laws which don't carry long punishments.

In Scotland, there is already a law against stalking where the maximum prison sentence is five years.

It is thought around 120,000 people experience stalking in Britain every year.

Here is some advice from the National Stalking Helpline if you are being harassed, intimidated or stalked.

If you are in immediate physical danger

Dial 999

How to keep safe from stalkers at home

• Consider installing an alarm system if you don't already have one.

• Ensure all doors and windows are fitted with locks or mortice deadlocks.

• Install motion-sensor lights that will come on when anyone moves outside your house.

• Consider adding gravel or pebbles to your driveway as the crunching sound will alert you when anyone is approaching.

• Ask the police if they can loan you CCTV to gain evidence of anyone approaching your house.

Staying safe outside your home

• Try and vary your daily routine to prevent a stalker becoming familiar with the times you will be at home.

• Have your keys ready when you reach your front door so you don't have to wait on your doorstep while you look for them.

• Vary the route you take to and from your home.

• Ask any workmen or professionals for ID to prove they are who they say they are.

• Try not to answer the phone giving your name or number. Just a simple "hello" is the safest way.

• Do not answer any questions about yourself, even if it seems an innocent market research call.

• Transfer your number so it is ex-directory

• Ask someone else to record your voicemail message if your stalker is calling regularly, and don't reveal your name or number.

• Don't engage with malicious or repetitive callers, just hang up the phone. If the phone rings again, pick it up and don't say anything. Normal callers will identify themselves and if it is the malicious caller you can hang up again.

• Always keep a log of all events that occur, including the time, date, what happened and how it made you feel.

Safety advice if being stalked at work

• Give a photo of your stalker to your manager and organisation's security staff if you have one.

• Tell your manager about the emotional impact the stalking is having on your if you are worried it might affect your work.

• Conduct any meetings with new clients or those you haven't met before in a public space or back in your office with colleagues around.

• Consider using a 'buddy' system for meetings you have to attend outside the building, where you text your buddy when leaving.

• Try to avoid lone working while the harassment is continuing.

If you need any further advice, or you need to talk to someone about your personal situation call the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300.