Today, stalking becomes one of the most common forms of abuse. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men will experience stalking at one stage in their lives. This statistic continues to grow as social media makes locating someone so accessible.

The effect of stalking on the victim lives on for the rest of their lives. It has an effect on their mental health in the form of embarrassment, self-blame, inability to sleep, inability to trust, frustration, anger and in some cases suicidal thoughts. The effect on physical health contains things such as fatigue, weight problems, dizziness, breathing difficulties. Stalking can make the individual feel isolated and afraid.

One of the most common instigators of stalking is relationship linked. 66.2% of female stalking victims were stalked by a current or former partner. Many people have difficulty letting go of former partners and in some circumstances this can lead to stalking. Stalking comes in two main forms, in person stalking and cyberstalking.

Common behaviours associated with stalkers is following you, send unwanted gifts/cards, monitoring your devices, threatening to hurt those you love or you, hang about in places you are commonly in, spread rumours/post information about you or track your actions.

On the 2nd of February 2019, I observed a man was sent to court after he had been charged with stalking. After a 3 year relationship, it came to a close as a result of the women becoming pregnant with another man’s child. This prompted the former partner to start showing volatile behaviour which then resulted in a restraining order, where he was instructed to have no contact with the woman.

Despite this, he sent her violent messages, containing threats that concerned her life and her family member’s lives. Whilst sending these messages he explained how he would seek enjoyment in carrying out these acts of violence. The female provided the court with evidence of the messages yet the defendant pleaded not guilty and claimed that she had sent the messages to herself. He was remanded in custody and is awaiting his trial.

As stalking becomes increasingly prevalent in today's society, it is important to know the steps we can take in order to help prevent it. If you feel unsafe then don’t think you are overreacting and do try to cut off ties, don’t communicate/respond to the stalker, keep all evidence of the stalking, tell those around you so that you don’t feel isolated, turn off location features on devices and contact the police. This offence is taken seriously by the courts and speaking up may be the only way to make this stop.