Providing support to people whose lives have been affected by domestic abuse

It is hard to give exact definitions of Cyber Abuse or Stalking as many different behaviours and actions are used to harass the victim.   

Cyber abuse particularly refers to the use of modern technology i.e. mobile phones, instant messaging, e-mail, chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to harass, threaten or intimidate someone. It can also occur when a person is harassing others connected with the individual, knowing that this behaviour will affect their victim, as well as the other people that the abuser appears to be targeting their actions towards. This is known as 'stalking by proxy'. Family members, friends and employees of the victim may be subjected to this.

Stalking again has no strict legal definition but stalking behaviours may include:

The effect of such behaviour is to reduce the victim's freedom, leaving them feeling that they constantly have to be careful; like they are constantly being watched. In many cases, the actions might appear innocent (if it were to be taken in isolation), but when carried out repeatedly so as to amount to a 'course of conduct', it may then cause significant alarm, fear, anxiety and distress to the victim. It may result in the victim cutting themselves off from others, for their own safety and that of others; it may impact on employment and social life as well as mental health.

It often takes a while to realise that someone is being stalked; at first it seems like someone is just being annoying, then they become creepy and insistent and finally it can become very frightening. Stalking can escalate very quickly - don't hesitate to report your fears if this is happening to you.

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