Friday, 24 August 2012

Help - I am being cyberstalked - what can I do?

The Common Experiences of Cyberstalking Victims

The methodologies adopted by adult cyberstalkers is extremely consistent irrespective of the victim, the motive or the typology.

The methodologies adopted are typically as follows:
  1. False accusations
  2. Attempts to gather information about the victim (or the "target")
  3. Monitoring their target's online activities
  4. Encouraging others to harass the victim
  5. False victimisation
  6. Attacks on data and equipment
  7. Ordering goods and services
  8. Arranging to meet

Read more: See Victim Resources - The Methodologies Used by Cyberstalkers

Am I a victim of cyberstalking?

If you have experienced or are experiencing attacks that involve a significant number of these methodologies, then you are almost certainly the victim of a cyberstalker.

What will help you transition from victim to survivor is the strategy that you employ in defeating your cyberstalker.
I have articulated below some of the key methods that my team of professionals, advisors and I used to thwart the ongoing attentions of my sadistic cyberstalker.

RESEARCH - knowledge is the first step on the way to EMPOWERING the victim. Knowledge of many things will assist including the following:

  • What stalking actually is 
  • The motivation types of stalkers (particularly your own)
  • Stalkers and stalker typology
  • The psychology and frequently encountered mental health conditions of stalkers
  • Who your stalker is (if possible) 
  • Physical security companies and advisors whom can help you 
  • Criminology, psychological and psychological profiling assistance available to you 
  • Your local Police Constabulary and what their stated position on stalking is (including who is the head of the PPU [Public Protection Unit]) 
  • Relevant anti-stalking laws 
  • The local anti-stalking charities and victims support agencies 
  • Who the best legal practitioners in the anti-harassment, anti-stalking and cyber-stalking / cyber-crime spheres are  [I will write more about this in due course however please feel free to contact me via the contact page on my website for recommendations and suggestions of how to source competent and experienced specialist legal advice]


  • If you feel like you are in any way in imminent danger, dial 999 without delay.....

DO NOT APPROACH - no matter what, do not approach your stalker or cyberstalker

DO NOT RESPOND - the number one goal of the stalker is to know that what they are doing is having their desired effect on you (their victim or prey)

  • As the victim becomes more desperate for a solution, they will try virtually anything to remove the unwanted attentions of the stalker from their life, but please do not make the mistake of responding 
  • Do not under any circumstances respond or let your stalker know that they are affecting you 
  • This will only encourage and embolden them 
  • Do not initiate or respond to contact from your stalker under any circumstances 
  • Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you may be able to rationalise or negotiate with your stalker. This does not work and often leads to tragic consequences 
  • Many stalkers are sociopaths. You should not try to negotiate with a sociopath. Do not under any circumstances try to reason with your stalker, tempting as it may become 

DEVELOP A DIVERSION TACTIC - for me this was largely prayer; talking, sharing and praying through the experience with my family and a set of close and extremely trusted friends

  • It is a known fact that stalking victims often develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or PTSD-like symptoms, so seeking professional psychological / trauma counselling assistance early in the process is extremely important 
  • Do not try to do this alone 
  • Importantly - try to find a technique to allow you to de-stress and temporarily escape 
  • Surviving stalking is inevitably a marathon, not a sprint 
  • Endurance, persistence, rest, recovery, relaxation, self evaluation, re-centering and inevitably trauma counselling, are all extremely important factors   

COMPILE A DETAILED DOSSIER OF EVIDENCE - A detailed evidence log is key to getting the police to take your complaint seriously 

  • Irrespective of whether the Police and Crown Prosecution Service pursue criminal prosecution against your cyberstalker; if either as an alternative, or in addition you determine to take civil action against your stalker, detailed evidence diaries will prove critically important 
  • Note down EVERYTHING 
  • Take screenshots where appropriate 
  • Gather evidence and document absolutely everything
  • Record everything that you are able, whether on camera, video camera, CCTV, dictaphone, digital recorder etc
  • Keep (and back up) ALL emails, text messages, instant chat messages, phone records, voicemails and answering machine messages
  • Keep a diary of every single incident - write it down straight after it happens (irrespective of what the incident is) 
  • It is well worth carrying a notebook or diary with you so as to be able to record everything whilst it is still fresh in your memory 
  • Whenever there is a witness to events, ask them to diarise what they saw/hear/observed whilst it is fresh in their memories. Then ask them to keep one copy and provide you with a copy for your records too  
  • Something that many victims do is complain to the police of how they feel that they are being bombarded / attacked constantly - and yet without clear and unambiguous evidence this is too easy for the police to dismiss

PROTECT YOURSELF & YOUR COMPUTER / PHONE /iPad etc - Many stalkers and cyberstalkers use malware and other technically invasive means to keep track of their victims

INFORM FAMILY and FRIENDS - It also helps to inform your boss and work colleagues

Ask them to:
  • Keep an eye on you 
  • Keep a lookout / watchful eye for the stalker or cyberstalker and/or his actions 
  • Many cyberstalkers will make contact with your boss or work colleagues using the most plausible and innocent sounding reason for doing so, so informing your colleagues and boss of what is going on in advance will help them to be on the alert - and to be careful in how, what and if they respond to any inquiry that in any way involves you

REALISE THAT STALKING OFTEN ENDS IN ASSAULT OR WORSE -  so hope for the best but plan what you will do if the worst thing was to happen to you

  • Rehearse in your mind what you might do if you were approached outside your home, school, place of work etc 
  • If you have practised visualising your response and escape routes in the event of a physical attack then you are far more likely to survive 
  • Take precautions such as varying your routine, not travelling alone 
  • Increase your home and personal security measures as fully as you are able 
  • Install panic alarms within your home 
  • Ensure that you have an advanced car security system installed (if not fitted as standard) including automatic "drive-off" door locks and "home-safe" headlight delays
  • Acquire and use religiously a personal safety alarm 
  • Acquire and use religiously a personal safety iPhone or Android Appa and GPS tracker. The best-in-class of these notify your emergency contacts with a GPS location so that help can find you quickly in an emergency. I personally use and recommend StaySafeApp however there are a number of other good products available on the market within the UK and the US
  • Seriously consider taking self defence lessons - they may save your life however it will almost certainly act as one of your personal diversion / mental relaxation techniques


  • Sadly this often happens as stalking and even more so cyberstalking are relatively little understood
  • If the police at first ignore you, demand politely that they document in writing why they have not taken your complaint more seriously 
  • Again coming back to knowledge empowering you, familiarise yourself with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) Stalking Guidelines (Practice Advice on Investigating Stalking and Harassment)  
  • Familiarise yourself with who is the Stalking SPOC (stalking single point of contact) officer within your local police constabulary. Generally speaking the Stalking SPOC will be well trained and will understand both how the Police and the CPS should respond. The Stalking SPOC should also be reasonably well versed in what the victim is going through as a result of the cyberstalking or stalking
  • Keep trying to get the police to listen and take appropriate action. Persevere. Do not be dissuaded 
  • Particularly if the police have not taken your complaint seriously, or have shown an apparent lack of knowledge or understanding of the ACPO Guidelines, then complete this Stalking Risk Checklist and take it with you to the police. It is harder for the police to ignore you if you have been positively identified as an at-risk victim 
  • You are within your rights to have a solicitor, advocate or friend present with you at all meetings with the police. Insisting on this is definitely valuable 
  • The police often want to help, but often don't know how or what to do (though thankfully this is changing), so persist until you have been taken seriously and/or found the correct, appropriately trained and qualified police officer within the relevant constabulary to assist you adequately


  • I found this to be a valuable first-setp when considering what criminal, civil and other remedies I might have against my stalker
  • In my particular experience I found the The Network for Surviving Stalking (NSS) and e-Victims were especially helpful 
  • I also know from experience that The National Stalking Helpline, Protection Against Stalking, The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Action Scotland Against Stalking and Women's Aid all provide first-rate advice for their respective constituents

Resources and contacts

The following are some of the extremely helpful anti-stalking and anti-domestic violence agencies whom can help you as you start to architect a plan of attack to defeat your stalker:

The National Stalking Helpline

Digital Stalking: A Guide to Technology Risks for Victims

The Network for Surviving Stalking (NSS)

Protection Against Stalking

Action Scotland Against Stalking

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust

Women's Aid

Chambers & Partners  -The UK Legal Practice Guide to Solicitors and Barristers

United Kingdom Anti-Stalking Legislation


In the UK there are various laws in place to tackle the growing problems of stalking and cyberstalking. 
Currently these include:

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997

The original impetus to introduce the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 was to deal with the problem of stalking. However, the Act goes much wider than this, covering a range of conduct, including harassment motivated by race or religion, some types of anti-social behaviour, and some forms of protest. 

The legislation creates both criminal and civil remedies. 

There are two criminal offences. One is pursuing a course of conduct amounting to harassment; the other is a more serious offence where the conduct puts the victim in fear of violence. Harassment is defined as causing alarm or causing distress. 

A “course of conduct”, which can include speech, must normally involve conduct on at least two occasions, although there are exceptions to this.

In addition to the criminal sanction, a civil court can also impose civil injunctions in harassment cases as well as awarding damages to the victim for the harassment. Breach of such an injunction is a criminal offence.

The Malicious Communications Act 1988

The Malicious Communications Act 1988 is a British Act of Parliament that makes it illegal in England and Wales to "send or deliver letters or other articles for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety". It also applies to electronic communications.

The Offences Against the Person Act

The Offences against the Person Act 1861 (24 & 25 Vict c 100) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. It consolidated provisions related to offences against the person (an expression which, in particular, includes offences of violence) from a number of earlier statutes into a single Act. For the most part these provisions were, according to the draftsman of the Act,[3] incorporated with little or no variation in their phraseology. It is one of a group of Acts sometimes referred to as the criminal law consolidation Acts 1861. It was passed with the object of simplifying the law. It is essentially a revised version of an earlier consolidation Act, the Offences against the Person Act 1828 (and the equivalent Irish Act), incorporating subsequent statutes.[4]
Although it has been substantially amended, it continues to be the foundation for prosecuting personal injury, short of murder, in the courts of England and Wales.

Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (c.33) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It introduced a number of changes to the existing law, most notably in the restriction and reduction of existing rights and in greater penalties for certain "anti-social" behaviours. The Bill was introduced by Michael Howard, home secretary of Prime Minister John Major's Conservative government, and attracted widespread opposition.

Criminal Justice Act 2003 
The Criminal Justice Act 2003[1] (c.44) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It is a wide ranging measure introduced to modernise many areas of the criminal justice system in England and Wales and, to a lesser extent, in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
It amends the law relating to police powers, baildisclosure, allocation of criminal offencesprosecution appeals, autrefois acquit ("double jeopardy"), hearsaybad character evidencesentencing and release on licence. It permits offences to be tried by a judge sitting alone without a jury in cases where there is a danger of jury-tampering. It also expands the circumstances in which defendants can be tried twice for the same offence (double jeopardy), when "new and compelling evidence" is introduced.

Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006
The Wireless Telegraphy Acts are laws regulating radio communications in the United Kingdom.
Wireless telegraphy as a concept is defined in British law as "the sending of electro-magnetic energy over paths not provided by a material substance."
The term telegraphy, although best known in relation to the electric telegraph, relates to the sending of messages over long-distances. Wireless telegraphy is differentiated from electrical telegraphy in that the messages are transmitted via electromagnetic means (light or radio) rather than via a physical electrical cable connection.
The guardian of the UK's electromagnetic spectrum is the communications regulator, Ofcom.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c.23) (RIP or RIPA) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, regulating the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation, and covering the interception of communications. It was ostensibly introduced to take account of technological change such as the growth of the Internet and strong encryption, but is regularly used to oppress British subjects.
RIPA can be invoked by government officials specified in the Act on the grounds of national security, and for the purposes of detecting crime, preventing disorder, public safety, protecting public health, or in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, that is, any grounds can be covered at will under its exceedingly broad scope.

Communications Act 2003, Section 127

The Communications Act 2003 section 127 covers the sending of improper messages. Section 127(1)(a) relates to a message etc that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and should be used for indecent phone calls and emails. Section 127(2) targets false messages and persistent misuse intended to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; it includes somebody who persistently makes silent phone calls (usually covered with only one information because the gravamen is one of persistently telephoning rendering separate charges for each call unnecessary).

If a message sent is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing or false it is irrelevant whether it was received. The offence is one of sending, so it is committed when the sending takes place. The test for "grossly offensive" was stated by the House of Lords in DPP v Collins [2006] 1 WLR 2223 to be whether the message would cause gross offence to those to whom it relates (in that case ethnic minorities), who need not be the recipients. The case also said that it is justifiable under ECHR Article 10(2) to prosecute somebody who has used the public telecommunications system to leave racist messages.

A person guilty of an offence under section 127 CA 2003 shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine or to both. This offence is part of the fixed penalty scheme.

Section 127 can be used as an alternative offence to such crimes for example as hate crime (including race, religion, disability, homophobic, sexual orientation, and transphobic crime), hacking offences, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, amongst others.

The Equality Act 2010 (c 15) is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom.
The primary purpose of the Act is to consolidate the complicated and numerous array of Acts and Regulations, which formed the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain. This was, primarily, the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and three majorstatutory instruments protecting discrimination in employment on grounds of religion or beliefsexual orientation and age. This legislation has the same goals as the four major EU Equal Treatment Directives, whose provisions it mirrors and implements.[1] It requires equal treatment in access to employment as well as private and public services, regardless of the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. In the case of gender, there are special protections for pregnant women. However the Act allows transsexual people to be barred from gender-specific services if that is "a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim". [2] In the case of disability, employers and service providers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their workplaces to overcome barriers experienced by disabled people. In this regard, the Equality Act 2010 did not change the law. Under s.217, with limited exceptions the Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.

New UK Anti-Stalking Legislation

Groundbreaking new legislation in the UK making stalking a specific crime will come into law later this calendar year. This legislation, called the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 will hopefully enable the UK Criminal Justice System to catch up with other jurisdictions such as the United States, particularly in respect of recognising and prosecuting stalking as a specific crime.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 forms the subject of a separate post which will be published here shortly.

Hate Crimes

Whilst anecdotally it would appear to be an effect rather than a cause of stalking and cyberstalking, elements of each can include targetting of the victim on the basis of his or her perceived membership in a certain social group - whether defined by racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, or gender identity. This particular form of harassment is defined by law as a Hate Crime.

Hate Crime is defined in Wikipedia as "generally referring to criminal acts that are seen to have been motivated by bias against one or more of the types above [racial group, religion, sexual orientation, disability, class, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, or gender identity], or of their derivatives. Incidents may involve physical assault, damage to property, bullying, harassment, verbal abuse or insults, or offensive graffiti or letters (hate mail)". 


The Protection from Harassment Act:

The Malicious Communications Act 1988

Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994

The Methods Used by Cyberstalkers

The Methods Used by Cyberstalkers

According to Wikipedia the following are the methods most commonly used by cyberstalkers:

False accusations

  • Many cyberstalkers try to damage the reputation of their victim and turn other people against them
    • They post false information about them on websites
      • They may set up their own websites, blogs or user pages for this purpose
        • They post allegations about the victim to newsgroups, chat rooms or other sites that allow public contributions, such as Wikipedia or

        Attempts to gather information about the victim (or the "target")

        • Cyberstalkers may approach their victim's friends, family and work colleagues to obtain personal information
        • They may advertise for information on the Internet
        • They may even hire a private detective
        • They are generally obsessive, extremely persuasive and hell-bent on finding out any information about their victim, no matter how small
          • Their irrational obsession with this task is often masked under the guise of "due diligence" or "concern for the welfare of another person" or "professional research"

          Monitoring their target's online activities

          • Often attempting to trace the victim's IP address in an effort to gather more information about their victims

          Encouraging others to harass the victim

          • Many cyberstalkers try to involve third parties in the harassment
          • They may claim the victim has harmed the stalker or his/her family in some way, or may post the victim's name and telephone number in order to encourage others to join the pursuit
          • Sinister and sophisticated stalkers will endeavour to force 3rd party attention on their victim by way of baseless complaints to law enforcement, industry, regulatory, governmental, customs and immigration and border security agencies

          False victimisation

          • The cyberstalker will claim that the victim is harassing him/her
          • The cyberstalker will sometimes even launch anti-stalking / anti-harassment civil proceedings against his victim
          • The cyberstalker will frequently make baseless complaints to police agencies and the like claiming that they are the real victim
          • Bocij writes that this phenomenon has been noted in a number of well-known cases

          Attacks on data and equipment

          • They may try to damage the victim's computer by sending viruses.

          Ordering goods and services

          • They order items or subscribe to magazines in the victim's name
            • These often involve subscriptions to pornography or ordering sex toys then having them delivered to the victim's workplace

            Arranging to meet

            • Young people face a particularly high risk of having cyberstalkers try to set up meetings between them and the cyberstalker