Stalking and harassment
Stalking is unwanted, focussed behaviours carried out by one person, or persons, against another, causing fear and alarm.
A wide range of behaviours may qualify as stalking – including sending unwanted messages, harassment and monitoring on social media, following or loitering, or verbal abuse. In Scots law, stalking is defined as a ‘course of conduct’ that places another person in a state of fear or alarm. A ‘course of conduct’ is defined as two or more incidents. That’s all it takes for stalking incidents to become criminal.
What are my legal options?
Stalking is a criminal act. The law in Scotland provides several legal protections for victim-survivors of stalking, and if you want to, you can file a complaint with the police.
In Scotland the law defines stalking as a ‘course of conduct’ crime, that is 2 or more incidents that make a person feel fear and alarm.
For example, it could be that you got an unwanted bouquet of flowers and you keep getting unwanted messages in your social media. If these two incidents have happened, they came from the same person and they made you feel frightened or alarmed, then it is a crime.
If you want to explore options to stop the stalking, call our helpline. We also have written legal guides to help you understand your rights:
Looking for more information on stalking and harassment?
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Other support and organisations that can help
Many support services are available to you whether or not you report to the police.
Like any form of abuse, stalking can have an impact on your mental health and general wellbeing. The following helplines can offer a listening ear and give you some practical support:
The National Stalking Helpline is a UK-wide service specifically for survivors of stalking.
- Open daily 9:30am - 4pm except Wednesday, 1pm - 4pm
- Call: 0808 802 0300
Action Against Stalking is a Scotland-based charity aiming to provide services for survivors of stalking.
- Call: 0800 820 2427
- Email: email@example.com
Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage helpline - Open 24/7
Rape Crisis Scotland has a daily helpline that supports survivors of sexual violence and can support those experiencing stalking.
Open daily, 6 pm - midnight
- Call: 08088 01 03 02
- Text: 07537 410027
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In immediate danger or looking to report?
If you feel you are in immediate danger, call the Police on 999. If you are not in immediate danger but would like to report, call the Police on 101. Alternatively, you can fill out Police Scotland’s online form. Police Scotland respond and investigate reports of criminal activity, this includes various forms of gender-based violence.