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Covering your tracks

Someone is following everything I do

Stalking and harassment is when someone tries to make contact with you in a way that makes you feel scared, upset or threatened.

Teenage boy listening to music, a girl is in the background on her phone

You may know the person who is stalking or harassing you, or they may be a stranger.

 

It can happen more than once, over time, which can make you feel even more afraid.

 

How does this happen?

The person doing this may stalk or harass you by:

  • following you
  • watching or spying on you
  • contacting you when you don’t want them to, which can include visiting you, telephoning, following you online you or writing letters to you
  • threatening you, whether face-to-face, through phone calls and letters, or through social media and online
  • being abusive to you because of your identity (race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability); this is known as hate crime

What can I do?

Stalking and harassment can make you feel worried, sad or angry, and it may feel like you’re trying to deal with this all on your own. But the fact that the person keeps following you or trying to contact you isn’t your fault, and no-one has the right to make you feel frightened or upset. Lots of people find that if they talk to someone it can help. Some things you can do are:

  • Tell an adult you trust – this could include a teacher, a family member, your youth worker, social worker or support worker. It can be difficult to know how to have this conversation; we have some tips on asking for help.
  • With a safe adult, you could develop a safety plan that would help you choose how best to keep yourself safe.
  • Make sure you don’t engage with the person stalking or harassing you, and try to avoid talking or communicating with them. If you are alone, try and get to a busy, public place.
  • Think about your daily routine – can you change this to keep yourself safer?
  • Check your home security.
  • Write down what has happened soon after each event including times and dates. Keep any evidence you might have, such as letters, emails and unwanted gifts.
  • Stalking and harassment is a criminal offence, so think about reporting it to the police. If you are at immediate risk of getting hurt, call 999. 
  • Talk to your friends. A good friend will listen to you and may help you speak to an adult. 

If you are worried about a friend, we have some tips on how you can start the conversation and get them the right help.

Your questions answered about stalking and harassment

Am I overreacting?

No. If you feel scared, worried or angered by any behaviour then you should not have to put up with it. Stalking and harassment are against the law, so if you decide to report this, don’t be scared – you will be taken seriously.

 

Can stalking only be done by a stranger?

Many people think of stalkers as strangers in the shadows, or someone obsessed with a celebrity. However most people know their stalker and have been in a relationship with them or were friends with them. Even if you may know your stalker, this is still wrong and can be very scary. It is important that you talk to someone who can help you to keep safe.

Who can help me?

You&Co – you can talk to one of our support workers on a one-to-one basis, and we can offer you help and support whether you decide to report the antisocial behaviour to police or not. We can give you advice on how crime can affect you and how to cope with it, what to do and what to expect if you decide to report a crime to police, and how to move on from being a victim of crime. You can find out about the support available nearest to you on this website.

ChildLine – they offer 24-hour support for young people on a range of issues; call 0800 1111.

National Stalking Helpline – you can call the helpline during the day on 0808 802 0300, or email advice@stalkinghelpline.org.

Crimestoppers – If you want to provide information about a crime without talking to the police, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The Mix – this website provides information and support for 16-25 year olds on a whole range of issues, including rape and sexual assault as well as safe sexual relationships. Get confidential help by telephone, email, text or webchat, for young people under 25; call 0808 808 4994.

Asking for help

Are you thinking about reporting?