IMPORTANT : INFORM THE PSNI IF YOUR STALKER HAS A VIOLENT HISTORY WHEN REPORTING EACH TIME
The officer you make contact with will be able to assess your safety with this information.
Fear can prevent logical thinking, which is normal when trying to protect your safety, or you feel it is threatened, but it’s important to also realise that how you gather your evidence plays a huge part in getting it stopped, and by assisting the PSNI all you can will bring early arrest. The majority of stalkers will use everything they to get you to meet them, especially if they have been cautioned by the law, and often claim suicidal feelings. It is vital you recognise that this is not a time to not be empathetic and ignore all requests to meet them from the time you asked for contact to be stopped. It is not your responsibility to keep someone safe who is causing you harm, and is purely a manipulation tactic. When you have PSNI involvement it is it vital you do not have any contact with the perpetrator, whatsoever, as this will certainly fail your attempt to bring prosecution.
- One of the things that can make it difficult for police and others to prove harassment and stalking, is the smaller constant incidents, which don’t appear much when on their own, but when added together are a huge intrusion on the persons life, ultimately instilling fear. They will always stalk when you are likely to be on your own, so unfortunately, you have to try and capture evidence at the time if possible, or dial 999 if in danger. Ongoing contact attempts or intimidation, must be logged, recorded and copied. Helping the PSNI to see the bigger picture can make it much easier to deal with the offender’s behaviour. VITAL – REPORT ALL INCIDENCES AS SOON AS THEY HAPPEN. IF YOU DON’T YOU WILL NOT BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.
- Keep a log of events, writing down the date, time, location and details of what happened. A diary is a great way to capture this, entered on the date it happened. Include information about any other witnesses who will evidence for you. Witnesses try not to get involved or may be fearful of the person doing this to you, so don’t take this personally. They too are afraid.
- Keep all letters, gifts, cards, including envelopes and note the date of receipt if its not on it. Don’t tamper or write on them, and photocopy if you need to write on the copy.
- Keep all phone and text messages, emails and screen shot social media entries relating to this behaviour or defamation of character, as this may be needed in court. You can screen shot on your smart phone also. Look up YouTube instructions on your phone make, on how to do this, and practice before you need to.
- http://www.digital-trust.org is a great source on how to protect your online information, and digital safety, as is Victims of Internet Crime, which guides you on removing distressing content or images.
- Check your social media settings, remembering your stalker may ask someone else to access your Facebook. Ideally change your name completely, and profile picture, as you will then become untraceable.
- Try and get ‘evidence’ of any events that occur at your home or place of work, using your camera phone, without aggravating your stalker. Remember they do not like to be exposed so you have to be careful to not appear a threat to this.
- Ask people you live near including neighbours, and people you work with, especially on reception, to look out for this person, and show a photograph if you have one, car and registration number. If approached ideally get an email sent to you stating their sightings recording the date, time and what happened.
- Once you have enough evidence to make a case, block the perpetrator, including emails, social media, and phone number/s.
- Log any silent calls also. The PSNI can send a trace request to your network provider if this happens more than a few times. If you are receiving silent, threatening land phone calls contact BT Malicious Callers Bureau or your line provider. Again, keep dates and times of calls through their IPN.
- Call blockers are also available and BT landline phones are now available with a blocking facility on them.
- Should numerous email addresses be used screen shot your blocked senders list, and print any emails received, regardless of content. DO NOT DELETE, no matter how frightened you are as this is much needed evidence to bring to the PSNI. Name changed emails can be traced also. Include the email source located on the top and bottom of printed emails.
- Install security equipment including Intruder Alarms, and CCTV if affordable. Personal alarms are a great investment, as are sensor security lights at the front and back of the house. A PSNI Crime Support Officer, or Victim Support can help with advice on this, and Ebay is a good source of equipment also.
- Should you move ask your friends and family not to park near your house, and ideally park your car from street view.
- Dogs are also reassuring and excellent at detecting intruders approaching your property.
- Do not place your bin outside at night for next morning collection unless you shred everything, as this is not below their levels of desire for information.
- Check your online presence, by typing your name and area you live, and look up www.192.com, as they use data from other sources including the electoral register, which you can get removed straight away. They act very quickly when they know there is a possible risk to your safety.
- There is a box you can tick when the census people call to your door, to prevent your information being collected and used on the internet. It is best to call your local electoral registry office to ensure you are protected from this, explaining your situation and quoting your PSNI case/incident number/s.
- Ensure all logged PSNI incidences relating to your case are linked together, and this can be done by checking with your reporting officer , and/or calling OCMT on 02890650222, who are very helpful.
- If you move house and stay in the same town, explain to family and friends, if the stalker knows their cars, to park their cars well away from your home.
Give as much information you can about the stalkers personal information, to a few close supports, including their places of frequency, friends and family members, in the event that information is needed by the PSNI.
And finally – the obvious one – lock all your doors and windows at night.