Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Leave this site
This site is a beta, which means it's a work in progress and we'll be adding more to it over the next few weeks. Your feedback helps us make things better, so please let us know what you think.
Stalking is a devastating crime. From persistent, unwanted attention out in public, to obsessive behaviour online – it can impact all aspects of a victim’s life.
This week (24-28 April), Sussex Police will be supporting National Stalking Awareness Week, which has a particular focus on stalking among young people.
Alongside our year-round activity aimed at catching perpetrators and safeguarding victims, we will be using this dedicated week to raise awareness of the signs to look out for among young people and their complex lifestyles.
With the emergence of new technology, it is important to consider that adolescents could be engaging in stalker-like behaviours, particularly through digital means.
Teenagers and young adults may lack awareness of how certain behaviours might be received. They may think their actions are part of normal dating behaviour.
This makes education and communication essential to challenging that behaviour at an early stage, helping young people to form healthy relationships that will benefit themselves and society for the rest of their lives.
Talking to young people is the best way to hear about what is going on and to open up opportunities for guidance throughout the age spectrum.
Some examples of concerning behaviour that could constitute stalking include:
All these things could be seen as stalking. On their own it might not seem like anything significant but if what is happening has left someone feeling scared or uncomfortable as the person will not stop, it might be time to speak to someone and get some advice.
What should young people do if they think they are being stalked? Report to police online or via 101, or call 999 in an emergency.
Veritas Justice, the stalking advocacy service for Sussex, gave this advice:
Stalking Awareness Week is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on all the proactive work carried out by Sussex Police and its partners all year round.
A number of industry-leading initiatives have been pioneered in Sussex, including the award-winning Complex Domestic Abuse and Stalking Unit – a multi-agency approach to offenders causing the highest harm, taking a holistic approach to addressing root causes of their behaviour and limiting their ability to offend.
Sussex Police is also a leading adopter of Stalking Protection Orders, applying for 132 since they were introduced in 2021 – among the highest number outside the significantly larger Metropolitan Police.
Stalking investigations are also subject to scrutiny panels to ensure best practice and highest quality outcomes for victims.
Sussex Police’s force lead for stalking and harassment, Detective Chief Inspector Sarah Gillies, said: “Stalking destroys lives, which is why early intervention is so important to address this behaviour in young people and build the foundations for healthy relationships that they can take forward into the rest of their lives.
“It is so important that we educate our young people and all remain vigilant of the warning signs of stalking and harassment.
“Sussex Police and our partners will continue to work tirelessly to catch perpetrators, safeguard victims and help bring about lasting behavioural change.
“Stalking is not love. If you recognise any of the red flags mentioned above, contact police online, via 101 or dial 999 in an emergency.”
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Stalking is still a misunderstood crime which is often dismissed as harmless and even joked about. However, for victims of stalking it can be frightening and life changing.
“Whilst Sussex Police continue with their proactive and innovative approach to tackling stalking, they cannot do it alone. This is why their work with valued partners like Veritas is so important in both challenging and changing behaviours of perpetrators as well as providing victims with support and encouraging them to report.
“This year’s Stalking Awareness Week theme shines a light on how young people could be at risk, what signs to look out for and how to stay safe, particularly online. It is also an opportunity to teach them that, just because you can do something online, it doesn’t mean you always should.”