Stalking and harassment
Despite there being no legal definition of stalking, the police and judicial system have adopted the following description – ‘a pattern of unwanted, fixated and obsessive behaviour which is intrusive. It can include harassment that amounts to stalking or stalking that causes fear of violence or serious alarm or distress in the victim’.
Stalking is interrelated with harassment and intimidation, and it is very often a feature of domestic abuse, particularly when the abuser is intensely jealous or following the ending of an abusive relationship.
It may include:
- physical (in-person) monitoring and tracking activities;
- the use of smart technology such as spyware apps on electronic devices or CCTV; and
- cyberstalking – harassing or threatening online communications, such as on social media.
Stalking by an intimate partner or former partner should always be treated seriously. It indicates an unhealthy and unnatural obsession and can be a significant risk factor for serious harm.
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