Stalking is a sensitive subject. We have many previous customer cases in which we have helped stalker victims obtain crucial video and audio evidence. One of our own staff at OnlineSpyShop was the subject of a relentless stalker who caused emotional distress for almost two years. Having been unsuccessful in getting a response from the victim, they turned their attention to the victim's partner through Social Media.
Netflix's I Am a Stalker
The new Netflix series "I am a Stalker" is an eye-opening eight-episode showcasing the harrowing real stalking cases in the USA. The perpetrator's traits mirror the same trademarks as listed below. It's an interesting watch and an insight into the blurred mentality of these people. Another recent stalking case in the UK involved a chap called William Nolan, who was prosecuted for planting listening devices in a woman's home. In this case, Nolan, while supposed to be feeding her cat, placed a crude recording device behind the woman's headboard and another under her coffee table. Nolan was eventually jailed for 15 weeks at Birmingham Magistrates Court after admitting to stalking without fear/alarm/distress; however, the case highlights the seriousness with which stalking offences are treated in the UK legal system.
For more detailed information about the stalking case involving William Nolan, you can read the full article on Birmingham Live.
Definition of a Stalker
In short, a stalker is someone who obsessively follows and invades the personal space of another person, often without their knowledge or consent. This behaviour goes beyond normal interest or social interaction. It includes actions like constantly watching, contacting, or showing up uninvited where the person lives or frequents. This behaviour is considered intrusive, disrupting the victim's life and sense of safety. Stalking is not just a social misstep; it's a serious violation of privacy and personal boundaries, often treated as a criminal act.
Trademarks of a Stalker
Stalkers can exhibit a wide range of traits and behaviours, which can vary greatly depending on individual circumstances and motivations. However, there are some common characteristics and patterns of behaviour often associated with stalking.
Stalkers often fixate on their target, constantly thinking about them and seeking out excessive information.
They repeatedly try to communicate with their victim through various means, regardless of the time or the victim’s response.
Invasion of Privacy
Stalkers frequently intrude into the personal spaces and routines of their victims, showing up uninvited at their home, workplace, or places they visit.
Jealousy and Possessiveness
Some exhibit intense jealousy and possessiveness, which can escalate into uncontrollable actions.
Refusal to Accept Rejection
They often ignore personal boundaries and the victim’s desire for disengagement despite clear signs of disinterest.
Manipulation and Threats
Stalkers may resort to manipulation or threats to intimidate or control their victims.
Monitoring and Surveillance
They engage in activities to keep a close watch on the victim, such as following them or monitoring their online activities.
Exhibiting unpredictable and sometimes alarming behaviour, particularly when faced with rejection or obstacles.
Sense of Entitlement
Believing they have a right to be in the victim’s life or are destined to be together, regardless of the victim’s feelings.
Lack of Social Awareness
Often unaware or indifferent to social norms and legal boundaries, focused solely on their objective.
Types of Surveillance Equipment
Stalkers employ a range of surveillance tools to monitor their targets, often without their awareness. These tools range from advanced technology to more traditional methods of observation.
GPS Tracking Devices
These are usually small and battery-powered, effectively tracking a person’s location through their vehicle or personal belongings.
Hidden Spy Cameras
Small, covert cameras are placed in homes, cars, or offices to observe someone’s daily activities.
Smartphone Spyware and Computer Keyloggers
Software for tracking online activities, recording keystrokes, and accessing private information on computers or smartphones, including calls, text messages, and even phone conversations.
Audio Listening Devices or Recording Bugs
Devices for eavesdropping on conversations are placed in homes, cars, or other locations.
Social Media Monitoring
Using social media to track a person’s location, activities, and interactions.
Remotely controlled flying devices with cameras for aerial surveillance.
Binoculars or Telescopes
Traditional optical tools for distant physical surveillance.
Directly following a person to various locations.
Mail Tampering or Monitoring
Interfering with or keeping track of a person’s mail for information.
Digital Voice Recorders
Portable devices for recording conversations.
Public Records or Online Searches
Using publicly available information or online resources to gather data on a person’s activities and relationships.
Fake Social Media Profiles
Creating false online personas to befriend or monitor someone on social platforms.
Long-range cameras with telescopic lenses take photos of a person from a distance without their knowledge.
Protect Yourself and Be Aware
Protecting oneself from stalking involves a comprehensive approach that includes documentation, legal measures, personal security enhancements, and support systems. Here are key steps to consider.
Keep a detailed log of all incidents, including dates, times, locations, and a description of the behaviour. This record is essential for legal proceedings.
Inform Local Police
Report the stalking to the police with all supporting documentation.
Obtain a Restraining Order
Depending on your location, you may be eligible for a restraining or protective order against the stalker.
Enhance Personal Security
Improve home security with better locks, security systems, and cameras. Secure digital presence by updating passwords and privacy settings.
Use a Secure Phone and Email
Consider a new phone number and email that the stalker doesn't know.
Inform family, friends, and coworkers about the situation so they can offer support and remain vigilant.
Do not communicate with the stalker, as any response can be seen as encouragement.
Stay Private on Social Media
Limit what you share online and adjust privacy settings to control who can see your posts and personal information.
Use antivirus and anti-spyware software, and regularly scan your devices for tracking software.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Stay alert, especially in public places, and avoid isolated areas.
Seek advice from organizations specializing in stalking and harassment for targeted guidance and resources.
Consider Legal Advice
A lawyer can provide advice on further legal steps and your rights in your specific case.
As of the year ending March 2023, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) provides insights into harassment, including behaviours associated with stalking. The survey indicates a higher prevalence of harassment among women compared to men across various types of harassment.
For non-sexual harassment, 7% of people aged 16+ reported experiencing at least one form of it within the last year, with women slightly more likely to experience this than men (8% compared to 6%). The most common type of non-sexual harassment involves comments or behaviour of a threatening, hurtful, or abusive nature in public. In terms of sexual harassment, 5% of individuals aged 16+ have experienced at least one form of sexual harassment in the last year.
The prevalence was about three times higher among women (8%) than men (3%). Younger age groups, particularly women aged 16 to 24, were more likely to experience sexual harassment. These findings are taken from the Crime Survey for England and Wales - Office for National Statistics.
Men vs Women Comparison
The comparison of stalking behaviour in relation to gender reveals distinct trends and differences. When analysing the background of stalkers, a significant majority of female victims are either current or former partners, whereas this represents a lower percentage of 44% for males. Interestingly, 88% of female victims report male stalkers, which is nearly half of male victims (45%) who report female stalkers.
There are also differences in stalking behaviours based on the gender of the stalker. Female stalkers generally exhibit less criminal and violent past behaviour compared to their male counterparts. Their stalking often involves methods like unwanted contact through phones, emails, texts, or social media, sending unsolicited materials, and employing less aggressive forms of communication. In contrast, male stalkers are more prone to direct actions such as following the victim, directly approaching and causing physical harm or causing property damage.
Female stalkers usually target individuals they know and are less likely than male stalkers to pursue strangers. These patterns underline that stalking behaviours can significantly vary depending on the gender of both the stalker and the victim.
For those who feel affected by stalking, it is imperative to seek support, such as counselling or therapy, and if you need to gather video and audio evidence to support your claims of stalking, please do touch base with us and let us help you as the starting point to a successful prosecution.