How to report unwanted behaviours
Sometimes unhealthy behaviours can continue after a relationship (romantic or not) breaks down. This can be very difficult to navigate and, in some cases, can be very distressing. If you are experiencing unwanted behaviours, it’s important to not ignore them and understand they can escalate. Trust your gut and get help.
Reporting to the police
If you are in immediate danger, call 999.
In a non-emergency there are two ways to get in touch with the police:
- Go to your local police station and say you’d like to make a report. The postcode search tool on the police website can help you find your local police station.
- Call 101. This is a non-emergency number that will connect you to your local police to report something that is not an emergency.
What’s a 999 emergency call and what’s a 101 non-emergency call?
An emergency situation is when you are at immediate risk or in physical danger in that moment. If your stalker has turned up at your house or is being violent, seek urgent help.
A non-emergency situation would be reporting something that has already happened and that you are not at immediate risk from, such as: if someone has pizza sent to your house that is unwanted or they have sent you lots of messages.
It can be scary trying to contact the police: you may feel daunted by it, or embarrassed that you need to talk about what’s been going on for you—especially if there are sexual pictures or texts involved.
- Try practicing what you want to say beforehand. Can you get a friend to role-play it with you?
- Write it all down in an online diary. (You can use our online diary template—see below.)
- Think about who you want with you when you make the report. A parent? A friend?
It’s important to use the word ‘stalking’ when making a report so the police can know how to best help you.
You may have problems trusting the police either because of things you have seen in the news or your own experiences. Most officers do their very best to help people and want to hear from you if you are scared.
For more advice on reporting to the police:
or, if you are a young person,
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Sometimes our feelings around what is going on can be mixed up and confusing. You could feel embarrassed by someone’s attention, angry, ashamed, guilty, scared, you may feel flattered, you may feel like you’re not allowed to feel like you do as ‘it’s not that bad’.
If someone won’t accept your ‘no’ or if you say ‘stop’ and they do not listen, remember:
- One ‘no’ is enough.
- It is not your fault.
- You did nothing wrong.
- You did not lead them on.
- Your feelings are valid.
Stalking is a crime, and you have the right to get help from the police.
Keeping a diary
It can be helpful when you are unsure about someone else’s behaviour to keep a log about what is going on for you. Keeping an eye on times, dates, locations and, importantly, how you feel about this attention.
Building up this diary can help you, and others, see the bigger picture.
Remember, if your gut tells you something doesn’t feel right, they it probably isn’t. If you are concerned or scared by someone else’s behaviour, don’t downplay what is going on for you. One ‘no’ is enough.
We have created a diary template for you to download. It is an Excel file, which can then be worked on offline or uploaded to your Google account to edit on Google Sheets, or to a Microsoft online account to use on the Excel app. Please read the following instructions to make sure you stay safe.
Secure your diary with a password, online and offline:
- On Google Sheets: ensure that your document settings are set to private. When you hover over the ‘Share’ icon in the top, right-hand corner, it should say ‘Private to only me’.
- Offline (Excel): go to ‘File’, then ‘Passwords...’
- With online Excel, you will need a password-protected account to use the app.
If you are editing your document online, make sure you change your password regularly, and do not use something that is easily guessable, such as 1234 or your name! You can also set up two-step authentication on Google, for an extra layer of security. (Find out how here.) We strongly recommend this.
Other ways to keep yourself safe
- Be cybersecure. Change your passwords, check your privacy settings, scan for spyware, and visit The Cyber Helpline.
- Limit contact. Keep any contact with the stalker to an absolute minimum.
- Seek support. Get help from stalking support services including the National Stalking Helpline (0808 802 0300).
- Vary your routine. Don’t go to the same coffee shop at the same time each day, mix it up and make sure someone knows where you are.
- Talk about it. Tell as many people you trust as possible (including GP, tutor etc) about what is happening to you and keep track of who you have told.