Stalking does not usually consist of one single, easily defined act. Stalking has many outward forms which are made up of a number criminal offences over a longer period of time.
The behaviour of stalkers ranges from
- unwanted telephone calls and
- written messages to trailing,
- observation and surveillance,
- damage to property and
- psychological as well as physical acts of violence.
Stalkers force their victims to have contact with them in order to exercise power and control. Victims often know their stalkers and many incidents of stalking develop out of relationships and former relationships. Persons who are being persistently and illegally pursued, harassed, threatened or terrorised by a stalker can report this as a criminal offence at any police station. In some cases, this can cause the stalker to stop harassing his or her victim.
Find help fast
You can find information about what you can do against stalking as a victim, the rights and entitlements of victims and where you can get help and support under ‘Further information’. The “Stärker als Gewalt” (“Stronger than Violence”) initiative explains different kinds of violence and calls on people to protect themselves against violence and to help persons affected by it. The women’s advice centres in North Rhine-Westphalia offer advice on all questions about sexual violence and can put victims in touch with help and support services.