What is stalking?

Stalking has been normalised in pop culture and it’s often romanticised in movies or on TV (ever seen Twilight or You?). You may even use the term jokingly from time to time, like if you’ve scrolled far back on someone’s Instagram profile (we’ve all done it). But it’s important to understand what stalking really is, and that it is a serious crime. 1800RESPECT defines it as ‘when someone repeatedly harasses you with unwanted contact or monitors your behaviour and where you are.’ 

Stalking can occur as a part of domestic or family violence. Most people who are stalked know the person who is stalking them, although rare cases do occur where people are stalked by a stranger. It may also be referred to as ‘monitoring’ and can also happen through technology (this is called cyber stalking). Read more about cyberstalking here. Like other types of abuse in relationships, a stalker wants to gain control and power over their victim/survivor. 

Stalking may look like:

  • Being followed (to or from work, social activities, home)
  • Unwanted notes or gifts being sent 
  • The person showing up uninvited to places you might frequent 
  • Repeated emails, calls, texts or social media messages 
  • Monitoring movement through online location apps 
  • Going through public or online records
  • Installation of cameras or surveillance without knowledge or permission 

Stalking is a crime in all Australian states and territories. If you think a crime is currently occurring and you’re in danger call Triple Zero (000). If you’re not sure if the behaviour being experienced is stalking, you can call one of the victim service numbers listed below to talk to a support worker:

The national sexual assault, domestic and family violence service, 1800RESPECT also offer a phone and online support service, 24 hours a day. 

Need someone to talk to? Free, confidential support is available.

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