Stalking – what is it?

(when he won't leave you be...)

Stalking refers to the willful, malicious and repeated following and harassing of another person. In most cases the victim already knows the stalker from a private or work-related background.
More often than not the stalkers are ex-partners, who refuse to accept that the relationship is over and want to harass their former partner.

Stalking has got nothing to do with love or heartbreak. For the stalker it is all about exercising power or control and maintaining contact with the victim. The consequences are often insomnia, depression and stress.

This unwanted attention can last months or even years. Stalking is psychoterror and can even be life-threatening.
Stalking has been recognised as a specific criminal offence since 2007 (§ 238 StGB.)

If you have been affected by stalking, contact one of our advice centres.


Examples of stalking

  • Text messages at all times of the day and night
  • Numerous telephone calls at home or at work
  • Insults, defamation of character, slander
  • Hanging around your flat, workplace and places where you regularly go to
  • Driving behind you, constant presence
  • Ordering goods from mail order firms in your name
  • Breaking in to your home
  • Theft
  • Threatening violence or even murder
  • Physical injury

How dangerous the situation is varies from case to case. The risk increases when the stalker is an ex-partner and was already violent during the relationship.

There is no patent remedy for stalking because every case is different. Often there is no quick cure. That`s why it is important to tell somebody and not shoulder the burden yourself. If you have become a victim of stalking, turn to us for help and call one of our advice centres.

 

What can you do? 

 The following tips have been tried and tested:

  • Make it clear to the stalker for once and for all that you do not wish to have any contact with him.
  • After that ignore him completely because every further reaction – no matter what – means that he is getting attention and will feel encouraged.
  • Allies can protect: Inform your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
  • Document all stalking events thoroughly (with dates and times). This can prove useful should you take legal action.
  • Look into technical safety measures (pin number, change your SIM-card etc.)
  • Go to an advice centre or hire a lawyer.
  • If you feel threatened, call the police.