Stalking is a serious issue that affects many people, including students. National Stalking Awareness Week (24-28 April 2023) is an opportunity to raise awareness of this problem and share resources for staying safe.
Stalking is defined as unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual towards another person. This can include following someone, making unwanted contact, or monitoring their activities. Stalking can cause significant distress and anxiety for the victim, and can even lead to physical harm.
As a student, it’s important to know that you have options for reporting stalking incidents and getting support. At the University of Kent, we have an online reporting tool called REPORT + SUPPORT. This tool allows you to report incidents harassment (including stalking) in a confidential and safe manner. You will have the option to access support and advice from a specialist wellbeing adviser.
In addition to using REPORT + SUPPORT, there are other steps you can take to stay safe on campus. These include:
- Know the signs of stalking. Stalking behaviours can include unwanted contact, excessive phone calls, texts, or emails, following someone, showing up unexpectedly, or monitoring their social media accounts. If you notice these behaviours, it’s important to take them seriously and seek help. Not sure if what you’re experiencing counts as stalking? You can use this online tool to check against a list of common behaviours.
- Create a safety plan. If you think you’re being stalked, it’s important to have a plan in place to keep yourself safe. This might include changing your routine, telling friends or family members, or seeking help from campus security.
- Document everything. Keep a record of any incidents of stalking, including dates, times, and what happened. This can be helpful if you decide to report the behaviour to the police or the University.
- Use resources available to you. In addition to REPORT + SUPPORT, there are other resources available to help you stay safe on campus. This includes campus security, counselling services, and support groups. For further advice, have a look at the Protection Against Stalking website.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe around someone, it’s important to take action. This might mean avoiding that person, seeking help from campus security, or reporting the incident through REPORT + SUPPORT.
- Protect your online presence. Stalkers can use social media and other online platforms to monitor their victims. Make sure your privacy settings are secure and don’t share personal information online.
Remember, if you or someone you know is experiencing stalking, there is help available. REPORT + SUPPORT is just one of the resources available to you. Together, we can work towards creating a safer campus for everyone.